Paid parking will likely be coming to downtown Sag Harbor this summer after the Village Board on Tuesday listened to a proposal presented by Trustee Aidan Corish to contract with ParkMobile to provide a parking app for a limited number of spaces on Main Street and Long Wharf.
Mr. Corish said the village would designate 221 of its 898 marked parking spaces, or about 25 percent of the total in the downtown area, for the program, which would run from May 29 to October 3, and from 10 a.m. to midnight.
During business hours, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., parking at those “premium spaces would be limited to three hours, with the first hour free, the second hour $5, and the third hour $7.50.
After 5 p.m., there would be a four-hour limit, with the first hour free, the second hour costing $5, the third hour $7.50, and the fourth hour $15.
Mr. Corish said both East Hampton and Southampton villages have also been exploring working with ParkMobile, which would charge the village a flat fee of 35 cents per transaction.
Although the first hour would be free, it would require those parking there to download the ParkMobile app on their phones, so that traffic control officers would be able to monitor the spaces. Mr. Corish said people who did not have the app would still be able to park in other spaces in village parking lots or other spaces off Main Street and the wharf. He added that a number of 30-minute spaces would still be available for those making short trips downtown.
The chief attraction of requiring paid parking is the projected revenue it would bring in. Mr. Corish estimated the village could earn “in the region of $1 million” annually if it charged for parking. The money, he said, could be directed to various village infrastructure projects, from repairing and adding sidewalks, expanding bike lanes, and installing rain gardens to capture untreated road runoff.
“It is no secret that state and county finances are being severely impacted by COVID-19,” he said via email on Wednesday morning. “With our village sidewalks in disrepair or non-existent, John Steinbeck Waterfront Park to develop, and a plethora of other worthy projects that need funding, investigating and developing alternative and dependable sources of revenue for the village is the responsible and prudent response.”
The board was largely supportive of the project, although Trustee James Larocca, who pointed out it would cost $27.50 to park for four hours at night on Main Street, said he was concerned that paid parking would amount to a “regressive tax” that would pose a financial burden for working-class families.
“For a working family out in their village, that’s a lot of money,” he said,” adding that it might discourage them from coming downtown.
Mr. Larocca also said he was concerned that the app would prove too difficult to use for senior citizens or those who do not have smart phones.
Mr. Corish countered that there would be plenty of free parking a short walk from Main Street.
The board also discussed the possibility of offering discounts for village residents and first responders. Nada Barry, an owner of the Wharf Shop, urged the village to allow people to park for up to five hours a night, saying four hours was not enough time for someone to go out to dinner and a movie or play. John Kirrane, president of the Noyac Civic Council, urged the board to visit his group to explain the need for paid parking, “so it is not perceived as punitive.”
The board agreed to schedule a public hearing in February with a goal toward implementing the system by May.