MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Mount Kisco is changing the rules this year as it once again extends free parking downtown for three weeks during the holiday season.
It is a move village officials hope will prevent a recurrence of the confusion and frustration shoppers and store owners have previously expressed over the mandate.
At a Monday meeting of the Mount Kisco Board of Trustees, Village Manager Jim Palmer said the free parking will likely apply to two- and four-hour meters, which make up most of the meters in the Shoppers Park, Blackeby, North Moger and South Moger parking lots.
As for on-street parking spots on South Moger Avenue and northern East Main Street, some will be free and some will still require people to feed the meter.
Beginning Dec. 10, and continuing through the New Year, bags placed on designated meters will indicate free parking and indicate the length of time one car may stay.
On-street parking is at a premium, said Mayor Michael Cindrich, and business owners on South Moger and East Main request turnover.
In years past, people would see the bag on on-street one-hour meters and assume they could park there for several hours. CIndrich said that, at the same time merchants were complaining about cars parked in front of their stores for three hours, shoppers were frustrated about getting ticketed for parking where they believed it was permissible.
“It’s very discouraging for somebody shopping in the downtown or utilizing another service to get a ticket for parking when there’s signs up entering the village that says 'free parking,'" Cindrich said.
Cindrich suggested to Palmer, who will make the ultimate call, that they bag meters on streets with abundant parking and not in the on-street areas where store-owners need turnover.
If people plan to shop for three or four hours and cannot find a spot on the street, Palmer said, "There's plenty of parking in adjacent lots."
While it costs the village money to continue offering free parking, the program persists as a way to encourage people to patronize downtown shops. And, as another holiday parking perk, employees of the downtown businesses will park free in the North Moger lot.
Over the last six months, Cindrich said, he and Palmer have asked for viable solutions from the Chamber of Commerce but have not gotten any kind of consensus from merchants.
Cindrich said this issue is one "that has never been resolved." With complaints coming in from all sides, he said, "It gets ugly."