I totally support Lesley Walter’s excellent letter to the editor in last week’s Enterprise. The writer is on target about all the issues relating to parking at the proposed 41 Cedar Street project, and offers some wonderful suggestions.
Parking in the downtown area has for decades been one of the biggest challenges facing Dobbs Ferry. There has never been enough parking on Main and Cedar streets:
1. For residents living downtown
2. For customers wanting to shop or dine downtown
3. For employees working in the shops and restaurants
4. For trucks making deliveries to shops and restaurants
5. For residents who want to use the Dobbs Ferry Public Library
We are told that building a parking structure behind village hall is too unsightly and too costly. Yet the village boards have consistently approved new buildings that exceed the height of existing buildings and block views from the Old Croton Aqueduct, labeled one of the treasures of our village. Despite the requirements for a specific number of parking spaces per apartment for proposed building projects, the boards have consistently waived those requirements, thus increasing the number of vehicles parking on Main and Cedar streets.
If Dobbs Ferry truly intends to become a more “walkable” community, then increasing parking congestion does not support that goal. As Lesley Walker points out, there is a mostly empty new parking lot at Cedar and Palisade streets that can be used by residents living downtown. One of the advantages of living downtown is that people can simply walk to the shops and restaurants.
If Dobbs Ferry wants to increase commerce in the downtown area, then providing parking for people who do not live downtown or do not live in the village at all should be a primary goal. One option might be to expand the valet parking initiative started by The Rare Bit on Cedar Street.
During the pandemic, local restaurants have made creative use of the additional space allotted to them, adding greenery and umbrellas that enhance and enliven the downtown streets. Many towns and cities around the country have converted streets into pedestrian malls (as Dobbs Ferry does during the Ferry Festa), so perhaps some version of such a mall should be considered.