East Hampton and Sag Harbor villages plan to implement new smartphone app-based parking systems next spring that will allow car owners to extend the amount of time they are allowed to park, for a fee — a move seen as a boon to businesses as well as a revenue boost for the villages.
In East Hampton Village, the new parking payment app will be integrated with the village’s new “auto-chalk” system that will replace the platoon of chalk-wielding traffic officers and time-slip machines with license plate scanners mounted on a police car that will allow all of the village’s parking spots to be monitored every half-hour by a single officer.
Mayor Jerry Larsen, who made fee-based parking extensions a key part of his platform when he ran for mayor this past summer, said this week that giving some patrons of village businesses more time to spend downtown has been a plea from store and restaurant owners for years.
“I’m pretty excited about this,” he said on Friday — a sentiment all four of the other Village Board members concurred with. “It’s going to really help the businesses and it’s going to help us in the village to provide services that we need.”
Parking within the allotted time limits are already in place — one hour on village streets and two hours in the parking lots — will remain free for those making short stays, board members agreed. Other details about what the fees will be and where parking time can be added are still in the works, Mr. Larsen told other board members, and will have to be worked out.
On Friday a representative of the app company the village plans to use for the system, ParkMobile, explained that residents would be able to link their specific vehicles, license plate numbers and credit cards to the app and could then pre-pay for extended parking if they were planning on spending more time downtown or make a quick extension to their parking time if their stay ran longer than expected. The app will be able to send alerts about expiring time as well.
There is no cost for implementing the system to the village, but ParkMobile will take a 30-cent fee out of each paid parking transaction in each village that is processed through the app, Mr. Blum said.
Sag Harbor had been discussing paid parking, new parking schemes in some of its off-street lots and adopting the ParkMobile app system prior to the start of this past summer, but the initiative got shelved when the coronavirus pandemic struck. Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy said that the Village Board intends to pick it back up next month and have the system implemented by May.
In her village, Ms. Mulcahy said, the plan is to only use the paid option for the high season and to apply the parking fees according to location, rather than time.
Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren said that he has also discussed the ParkMobile app with Mr. Larsen and that he is in favor of introducing it to the Southampton Village Board for consideration — though he noted that Southampton’s parking situation is much different than the two smaller, more congested villages to the east.
Along with the fee-based parking rules, Mr. Larsen has also kicked off an initiative to redesign parking schemes throughout the village — re-organizing the arrangement of spots in the off-street parking lots to create more spots and making parking on Newtown Lane diagonal — which he says will add more than 70 parking spaces village-wide.
Shortly after taking office in September, Mr. Larsen issued an executive order extending the parking time in all village parking lots from two hours to three, until December 31.
The mayor, who is a former chief of the East Hampton Village Police Department, said that the auto-chalk system will allow the village to reduce its part-time staff of traffic control officers by a much as half. It will also mean no more of the ticket-dispensing machines at the entrances to the parking lots.
“That will be good,” village Trustee Rose Brown said on Friday, “not to have those little ticket stubs scattered around the parking lots.”