The MTA is installing 94 new parking spots at the Beacon waterfront.
Although MetroNorth apparently told the City of Beacon the spots would be temporary, the photograph above clearly shows large sonotube bases being prepared for full size “temporary” lighting. The “temporary” asphalt is scheduled to be put down some time next week.
This swift installation raises some questions, for both the MTA and the City of Beacon:
- Where are the funds coming from? The MTA is broke, and its line item budget outline for Beacon makes no mention of parking expansion, only “parking renewal,” which includes ”resurfacing, restriping, bringing facilities up to current ADA
standards, implementing drainage improvements, improving and replacing lighting,fencing and guard rails, upgrading and adding revenue collection devices, shelters,signage, emergency communications, landscaping and security enhancements.”
. Are they using disaster relief funds earmarked for alleviating the situation on the Port Jervis line after tropical storm Irene washed out 7 miles of track? If so, is a parking lot an hour drive away a good solution to the problem?
- The City Council, listening to the citizens of Beacon, recently rejected a waterfront rezoning plan being pushed by the MTA. One of the biggest issues revolved around traffic and parking–we don’t want to be a giant parking lot for Orange County commuters, and the ever-increasing traffic on 9-D is changing the nature of the City. For a quasi-governmental agency that works for the people, it seems rude at best to push this through under the guise of an “emergency,” while ignoring the recently expressed sentiments of the City and its citizens.
- Small farms across the river are going bankcrupt after Irene washed away their crops, and they are not getting relief. Did the MTA get disaster relief funds to build 94 “temporary” parking spaces?
- It’s ironic that the response to water damage is to build more surface parking. The City of Beacon already has a severe storm runoff issue. The station itself was under several feet of water several times this summer. The State has issued stringent new stormwater requirements, including this one: Construction activities disturbing one or more acres of soil must be authorized under the General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities. Most parking lot designs allow for approximately 80 cars per acre, exlusive of any landscaping. Does this parking lot somehow slip under the qualifying factors for review? If so, the new law is definitely flawed.
- The City of Beacon has again dropped the ball in its dealings with the MTA. Why was nothing done other than a brief announcement at a City Council meeting about “temporary” parking (which nobody then or now believes will be temporary)? After hearing from concerned citizens regularly over the past two years about the traffic and parking issues at the waterfront, how could the City Council not fathom that this needed to be fought in every way possible? Why did none of them stand up and let us know what was going on by writing a letter to the local paper, or trying to get an injuction of some kind?
The 1200 spaces the MTA has added in the last few years have already changed the nature of the City. There are other ways to get people to the train station.