Auburnians can expect to see some changes to on-street parking on a portion of Genesee Street in the coming weeks.
From 3 to 6 a.m., parking on Genesee Street from James Street to John Street will be prohibited. The current overnight parking ban downtown bars parking from 3 to 7 a.m. on Genesee Street from Dill Street to Loop Road.
The change in parking is a response to complaints from some Genesee Street businesses about lack of parking for customers due to downtown residents leaving their cars parked on the street for extended periods of time. The new parking ban will also make it easier for the Department of Public Works to plow Genesee Street during the winter. The plan was first discussed during a September Auburn City Council meeting.
City Manager Jeff Dygert said the ban will be temporary at first. Section 1602 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law allows for the "chief executive" of a city to enact temporary parking bans "in order to remove snow or to plow streets, provided that signs or markings giving notice are posted."
City council members wanted the change to be in place before snow begins to fall. However, the process of officially updating the city's vehicle and traffic law will not be completed until January, Dygert said, which is why he has opted for the temporary measure.
The temporary ban will not go into effect for another week or two, Dygert said, as the city is still "working out the details" and waiting for signs to come in. Once the signs are in, Dygert said a notice of the parking change will be posted on the city's website and social media accounts.
Dygert is working with the Auburn Police Department's Traffic Coordinator Officer Greg Gilfus on the parking ban.
Gilfus said once the signs are in place, there will be a two-week warning period where officers will issue warnings instead of parking tickets to give people time to get used to the change.
"This initial period will be a good time for us to evaluate and see if we need to make any changes or keep it the way it is," Gilfus said.
Initially, Councilor Dia Carabajal said she had concerns that the parking ban could prompt intoxicated individuals who park on Genesee Street to move their cars while they've been drinking to avoid getting a ticket.
She said she is no longer concerned about that because there are other options for people who have been drinking downtown to leave their vehicles overnight, including the Lincoln Street parking garage and Dill Street parking lot.
Downtown Business Improvement District Director Stephanie DeVito said she thinks the new parking measure will benefit downtown businesses.
"It's going to be a great thing to implement in the downtown," DeVito said. "Downtown is really transitioning to be bigger and better every day. We do whatever we can to help businesses."