Assembly passes Albany residential parking permits bill

The approximate area covered by the 3/4 mile radius. Not every spot will be subject to the permits.

The state Assembly has passed the bill that would allow the City of Albany to run a trial residential parking permit program around the Empire State Plaza. From Albany Common Councilman Richard Conti's Facebook status last night:

Albany Permit Parking Bill just passed the Assembly, 80-45! Thanks to Assemblymembers McEneny and Canestrari for their efforts on moving this forward ... now it moves to Governor Paterson for approval.

The bill passed in the state Senate last week.

Among the bill's provisions:
+ The City of Albany would be allowed to "pilot a residential parking permit system with a two year sunset" within a 3/4 mile radius of the ESP.
+ No more than 2,750 spaces would be made available by permit in the permitted area. (The bill figures there are about 9000 spaces total in the affected area.)
+ Permit parking would not be allowed on streets where adjacent properties are zoned for "commercial, office and/or retail use."
+ At least 20 percent of the spaces in the permit would be available for non-residents to use for at least 90 minutes at a time.

(Thanks, Mike and others!)

Update: From a PEF press release:

The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) is disappointed state lawmakers have passed the Albany Permit Parking Plan, pandering to a small group of residents while shunning the needs of the general public.

The union is calling for Paterson to veto the legislation.

Earlier on AOA: Is the brake coming off residential parking permits near the ESP in Albany?


Anyone know the process that the Common Council will follow to write up the rules?

Obviously about 90% of the above radius is going to be exempt because of proximity to commercial property. What will be most interesting, I think, is which non-exempt property actually ends up *not* getting permit-based spots. For example, can anyone really imagine asking residents of the less affluent neighborhoods above to pay for parking in front of their own houses?

I think this issue should be renamed "Center Square retiree/work from home/stay at home mom or dad" residential parking. The Common Council is going to spend a lot of time on this issue. Time that could be better spent, in my opinion, working with the relevant stakeholders to make it safer to park at night.

This is such a stupid idea...It's going to make parking harder/costlier for everyone.

If you live in center square you should be walking or taking the bus to work.

Erik- "Center Square retiree/work from home/stay at home mom or dad residential parking"

I like that... but to be fair, it will also benefit overnight workers who come home at 7 or 8 AM. I was in that group at one time and can attest that fighting the vulchers after a night of work is no fun.

Another good thing will be if significantly more than 20% of the permit area is also available as 90+ minute parking then it could be beneficial to area businesses.

I'm still not convinced that any of "Center Square" (meaning Center Square and Hudson/Park up to Madison) can be included in this. According to the zoning map posted in the comments of the earlier post (, most streets intersect Lark and Swan at commercial zones. So, property adjacent to Jay St for example is commercial and (the way I'm reading it) therefore Jay St is not eligible.

Someone please tell me I'm misunderstanding this.

Also, Erik- there's been no mention that these permits will cost money. I don't think the council would try to put more than a nominal fee on them.

All good points @Tieu. Based on my admittedly poor knowledge of Albany zoning, I had assumed that the Lark to Dove blocks of Spring through Hamilton would not be eligible.

Why wouldn't there be a fee? There will clearly be administrative costs, in addition to the cost of putting up new signage.

The 90-minute parking spot issue could actually be a major pain for folks that live in the neighborhood and then walk or take the bus to work. But again I'm making assumptions here.

This is now beyond frustrating for me, because many of my friends live in Center Square. Now I can only stay at their houses for 90 minutes? What if I'm drinking cocktails and can't drive?

Ellie- I'm hoping there will be visitor permits available. Still a pain... especially if you park 3 blocks from your friend's house, then have to walk to the house, pick up the visitor tag, walk back to the car then back to the house... then repeat when you leave.

Erik- I'm envisioning 90 minute parking with exemption from the limit for those who have permits. That's typically how I've seen it done in other cities. Something like this:

Bitch, bitch, bitch eh gads... Albany is the ONLY state capital in the at least the original 13 colonies without a residential parking permit system around the government buildings... We have worked hard on this for more than 20 years. Its about time... I started advocating for this bill when my children were teenagers and lived at home, they have grown and left... now when I visit my daughter in Boston, we laugh cause I cant park in front of her house, cause I dont have a permit... HAHAHAHA.

"Time that could be better spent, in my opinion, working with the relevant stakeholders to make it safer to park at night. "

@Erik: You've mentioned the safety before -- and with the recent rash of muggings, it's totally understandable. Do you have any specific things you'd like to see happen with regard to the safety issue?

Great question Greg! In short, no, I have not a clue how to reduce street crime in Center Square and Pine Hills. Unfortunately our fair city has some serious socio-economic imbalances, which tend to result in violent street crime. The easy answer for me is more police patrols, but let's be honest: Albany isn't going to ramp up police hiring.

George de Piro made a great point on his TU blog ( about Center Square parking at night: it's our own fault, because we have too many cars! I'm part of the problem, as I live in a two person household with two cars. And we both walk to work! (Pot calling the kettle black, anyone?)

Here's my solution: more police, and lower density occupancy. (Sorry Knickerbocker apartments, you are all really nice, you do a great job with gardening, but you have too many cars.)

How long will it take them to carry this out?

"If you live in center square you should be walking or taking the bus to work." (from ike)

Eh, that's the problem. Many of us DO live in Center Square specifically so we CAN walk or bus to work ... but end up driving because there's no place to park in our own neighborhood, if, heaven forbid, we ever take the car to run an errand, or need to move the car for street-sweeping, or whatever. Nor do we have any preferred access to city lots or whatnot, as many state workers purportedly do -- so we pay outrageously high property taxes, then either battle state workers to be able to park anywhere in our own neighborhood or fork out $150/month minimum to park in a lot. And to preempt the usual rejoinders about just not parking at one's doorstep: I don't think most of us have any problem with walking a few blocks to park. Problem is, the entire area is designed for state workers -- hence if there's nothing on my (one-way) street, for instance, I have to loop way back around, passing through a minimum of 5 traffic lights, just to try the next (also one-way) street.
Permit parking won't help at night, but there are nearby metered spots (Washington, State, etc.) that are free at night, so those of us who don't drive to work can park there at night if needed, then move our cars back into the neighborhood during the day to keep those spots available for shoppers, diners, etc.
And for visitors? There *are* lots of paid lots and meters around if you're just coming in from time to time, apart from those free 90 minutes ...

this bill hurts me as I rent cars, so I do not know if I will be able to park by my house now.

Living in center square (only area i want to live here) = "you should be walking or taking the bus to work" come on, get serious, it's not an option for everyone that wants to enjoy this area. So If I move to Albany and want to live in Center square but my job is 20mi away and off a bus line, I shouldn't enjoy Albany's only urban city center?

Just because you want to be hipster green doesn't mean everyone else HAS TO be to enjoy center square.

"If you live in center square you should be walking or taking the bus to work."

Well, I live in Center Square and I do walk to work, thanks. That doesn't mean that I can live car-free, though. I was lucky enough to find a job close by, but my SO works out in E Greenbush. We were able to reduce down to one car for the two of us, but even if we both could walk/bus to work, it would be very limiting to be car-less in this area. We just don't have the resources to be a self sufficient community. When it comes to grocery shopping, the ghetto-chopper doesn't quite cut it for everything for me, and what about when I need to make a Target run? Hauling a bunch of bags home on the bus sucks.
Also, what is it that everyone is always saying is so great about Albany? That it's so close to other places to go. That wouldn't really be as much of a benefit without a car to get you there.

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