More (temporary) parking spaces for downtown Albany state employees

Thumbnail image for empire state plaza agency buildings from elm streetThe state Office of General Services announced that it will be making available 1,000 parking spots to state employees in downtown Albany as part of a temporary program. From the press release:

This Temporary Parking Assistance Initiative will allocate these spaces based on state service to PEF and CSEA members who presently do not have spaces in state lots.
OGS initiated this one-time, single purpose allocation for downtown state parking after consultation with PEF and CSEA to provide timely relief to state employees who may be impacted by the City of Albany's Residential Parking Permit System.

Update: OGS spokesperson Heather Groll tells us the spaces are in most of the downtown state operated lots.

The agency has posted a form for members of CSEA and PEF who'd like to apply for spots (they'll be assigned by state seniority). The deadline is February 13.

OGS says it's aiming to complete a "comprehensive restructuring of the state's downtown Albany parking system" by sometime this spring. The state has been working on this restructuring since at least fall. It was prompted in part by the "re-stacking" of state office space, which an OGS spokesperson told us last September had moved about 2,000 state employees to downtown Albany. (We had emailed OGS back then for an answer to a reader question about how many parking spaces the state has for downtown employees -- it was still being sorted out as part of the parking restructuring.)

Last September irisira posted a very good comment about the state of downtown state employee parking.

It's been about two weeks since the Albany residential parking permit system started. We're curious about how things have shaken out so far state employees around the ESP. Longer walks? More bus riding? Complete mayhem?

Comments

According to Twitter (and is there a better source?) there has been unbelievable vacancy around the city streets during the day, and a couple of spins through the neighborhoods certainly did reveal some available parking. I'm surprised if it happened that quickly, but it does give hope that one could find short-term parking during the day outside the metered areas.

Neither OGS nor the TU article indicate WHERE all these new spaces are going to be, so that's a little confusing.

@Carl: I emailed OGS about your location question. It sounds like they're spread around the state's downtown lots.

There are a lot more spots during the day. Not that that helps the vast majority of local residents who work all day, and either walk to work (thereby not needing to look for parking during the day) or drive to work and still can't easily find parking when they return after 6pm. It seems to me that the parking permit system helps the retired or otherwise non-working, but car-owning local residents (likely a small minority of total residents) while adversely affecting ESP workers and other local business employees (only 3 permits per business). Changing the restricted hours to something like 3pm-8pm would better benefit those of us who drive during the day but don't need to find parking during the day.

I walk through Center Square on my way to work everyday. All the streets are bare all day long now. Though at night if I drive down, I can't find a spot.

I've lived in Boston most of my life and every neighborhood there has residential parking restrictions. However, Boston also has a much better public transit system as well. In a neighborhood like Center Square there should be 2 hour or metered parking during the daytime hours available to everyone. Then in the evening and overnight these areas are strictly for residential parking only with no time restriction. There should also be areas strictly for residential parking all the time and visitors as well.

Albany didn't seem to do it's homework or study other cities before enacting the new parking rules. Though, I am glad to see they are doing something as a resident of Center Square with a car.

I am pretty amused that after fighting the residential parking permit system for 20 years the state now suddenly has 1000 available parking spots. Seems like they, the politicians, the unions and the staff at ogs were sandbagging the residents and tax payers of Albany all along. Figures. Bunch of bozos

As for those who have night time - day time angst: The day time plan was two fold, first to support local businesses and second to support daytime home related functions ie goings and comings of those of us who stay in the home during the week day.

The plan allows for businesses that are in the affected area to have more parking, which seems to be the case: there is plenty of daytime parking for those people who come in to the area for say lunch or shopping at what few shops there are left. This is a good thing for local retail and all residents.

For those of us who have home based businesses, or are raising a family in the neighborhood and there are a lot of us, going out during the day and coming back is no longer the incredible pain that it once was. This is good for local business and eases the family raising chores.

Thus the parking permit system will make living in Albany ATTRACTIVE, and that is good for everyone!

So the state had 1000 empty spots in the parking lots to allocate??? That they didn't allocate before? OK then...

It's too bad you don't have a control sample of available parking before the permit system went into effect. If nothing else, it would be an interesting comparison.

The long term effect would be interesting case study. From the urban planning of the 1960s, we learned that highways alleviate traffic for the short-term, but create traffic in the long term as residents make living and working decisions based on the convenience it offers. In 5 years, will the newly available parking created by the permit system be gone as residents make decisions to take advantage of it and get more cars?

Everyone forgets those of us who work in Hospitals, Chemical Plants, Nursing Homes, Office buildings (Security guards), etc who do not work 9-5. I sleep 8-3:30 during the day. I am not retired or unemployed.

@albanylandlord

I was thinking the exact same thing. How many other spots do they have.

Unrelated, but kind of related: How much do you think I can sell my "visitor pass" for?


I should note that, from my comment in September, the spot I was offered was a "temporary" spot, as are these 1000 spots that are being offered up. Parking is frozen right now until the parking restack study is complete. It's taking longer than they expected, for a variety of reasons (I imagine?), so agencies that have been restacked to downtown can offer their employees "temporary" parking, and new employees can get "temporary" parking, but no one else was allowed to apply for parking (people, for example, who did not have parking for one reason or another and then decided they needed it). *Everyone's* spots are temporary until the study is complete, these new spots included.

Because parking has been frozen for most people, none of the lots are full, hence why they can offer 1000 parking spaces. I could be wrong, but there probably won't be 1000 people who can take advantage of it at this time. If you have parking at Menands or McCarty, for example, you're not eligible, because you "have parking" already. It's really meant for those folks who relied on street parking that can no longer do that.

(At least, this is my understanding of it ... I'm not an expert on this, I just work at a downtown office, so I know more than I've ever wanted to about parking ... ugh.)

@irisara -- I think you are wrong that there won't be 1,000 people who will want this parking. There are 17 people in my relatively small work area who will be applying for these spots. None of these people have parking, though some have been on the lists for several years for various lots. Also, no new people in my agency could get parking for years now, even temp. parking, until this release of the 1,000 temp. spots. New people generally have the lowest seniority so they will have low seniority for these 1,000 spots, too, if there are multitudes applying.

Hooray for permit parking! I am a resident of Center Square. This is the first time in my 15 years here that I have not felt like a prisoner in my home when I'm there on a weekday. If I need to use my car, I no longer have to carefully plan my trip so I return either after 4:30 (when State workers leave), or exactly at 11:45 on Mon or Wed (when they move their cars from who-knows-where to the streets with alternate side parking). It is a joy. Amazing that the State suddenly found parking spaces for all these folks once the pressure was on.

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