Albany parking permit system up for an extension

albany parking permit system sign

An extension of Albany's residential parking permit system is one of the issues circulating in the state legislature's end-of-session flurry.

A bill authorizing a two-year extension of the program passed in the state Assembly, where it was sponsored by Patricia Fahy and John McDonald, earlier this week by a 128-7 vote.

It's yet to come up for a vote in the state Senate, where it's sponsored by Neil Breslin. Evan Schneider, a senior aide to Breslin, told AOA today they anticipate it passing the chamber on one of the three remaining session days next week. He said it was typical for this sort of legislation to get left until the end of session.

The state legislature first authorized the city of Albany to institute a residential parking permit system within one mile of the Empire State Plaza back in 2010, with a two-year sunset after implementation. The city got the system up and running near the beginning of 2013, and the legislature later OK'ed a two-year extension. That means current authorization for the permit system won't run out until February 2017.

So why push for an extension now? Albany Common Council president pro tempore Richard Conti -- who was a key figure in setting up the permit system, and whose ward includes streets covered by it -- told us this week the city was seeking the extension now so it wouldn't have to cut things close early next year.

"We can't wait until January 2017 to find out if there's a re-authorization because before the year is out we need to plan, budget, send out renewal notices etc.," Conti explained via email. "It would be an administrative nightmare either to assume we get a reauthorization (and maybe don't) or wait until late January."

The residential parking permit system covers spaces in three zones of the city. The permits are $20 per year. Here's more info. Last year the city switched from stickers to a virtual system that identifies license plates.

(Thanks, A)


Don't most people in these neighborhoods work away from their homes between 8-6? I know I do.

My parking challenge comes in the evening when I'm looking for a parking space close to my apartment. The spots are pretty full after 7 and they don't exist on Fri-Sat nites.

If the state worker parking was so bad, where do they all park now that the permit system is in place?

This seems very much like a $20 per year tax imposed on everyone for the benefit of the very few. Anyone know where the $ all goes? I wonder.

Though I don't think the system is perfect it has helped. Before this when I lived in center square and was taking classes I would come home around 1030am and at times spent hours looking for parking. When I would leave in the morning there would be cars camped out on my block waiting for someone to leave so they could take their spot for the day. Many state workers would do this rather than pay the fee for parking and then have to take the shuttle from the lots (some of which are very far from their offices). Now people either use the spots assigned to them or take the bus. Most of those parked on the streets at night are residents and that is something we must weigh when deciding to live in an urban area. I do not want to go back to the way things were.

Wait, why the city parking matters are being handled by a state assembly?
Doesn't Albany have a mayor and a city council?

@Lu: Because state law requires that the city get authorization from the state to have the parking permit system. The planning, design, and administration of the system is handled by the city government.

@ Delores: As far as the permit system goes, it is actually not a "$20 per year tax imposed on everyone." If you are a city resident and you want a residential parking permit (to be able to park for longer than two-hour periods on Monday-Fri. from 8 AM- 5PM in the designated residential zone), you go to City Hall and opt to pay $20 for your permit. If you are a city resident and you do not want the permit (such as if you have your own spot, do not own a car, you are a one-car family, or do not need to park your car in your neighborhood M-F, 8am-5pm), you do not need to pay. Those who pay are only those who want the benefit.

20$ a year is well worth actually being able to park near one's residence when you come home. I wish my street had this parking permit especially for street cleaning days. I get home from work about an hour before the hospital, college and state workers leave. I own my house (and so pay Albany high taxes) - it would be nice to be able to get home and park near it. Half the time on street cleaning days my boyfriend will just park his SUV up on our little front yard. haha

I've lived in two different Albany permit parking neighborhoods and never had any use for the system. I walk to work, and my wife drives and doesn't come home until the evening. I guess if one of us ever takes the day off or something it might be a little useful. But honestly, the issues I've had getting registered, or tickets when my registration has expired, has more than offset that benefit. I suppose it's useful to people who don't work during the day, but I've never really been convinced that those people constitute a significant portion of individuals in the neighborhoods.

Jackers - not everyone works a M-F 9-5 job. For service workers and medical workers who have other shifts, it is great to park close to home and not worry about tickets during the day.

Think outside the Office, please.

I live in the Mansion District and like Delores, leave for the workday. I actually do not have a parking permit - as long as I am gone by 10am and back after 4pm, there's no need for me to have one unless I'm working from home or have a day off.

On a snow day or day off, I would move my car every 2 hours or park a few blocks away where it's not a permit zone. Those areas hardly ever have parking as the state workers flock to it. When my girlfriend moved in she, unlike me, needed & bought a permit. Now in those cases I use our guest pass. It's also really helpful when we have actual guests.

Even with the permit system, I have heard stories of state workers still parking in the surrounding areas, receiving tickets, and simply having them pardoned/forgiven. This is pretty comical/asinine and yet totally unsurprising given the leaders they work for.

Maybe the system could be improved, but it's better than nothing and plenty of residents have permits & need parking. The state gov't has done enough to downtown residents (see Nelson A. Rockefeller). They should not continue to be punished some 50 years later for having the plaza & towers built in the center of residential neighborhoods.

No one mentioned AMC as a source of on street parking woes. And like the State, they just build (and obtained taxpayer subsidy) for several garages.

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