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Plattsburgh City Councilors review street plan and parking at latest meeting

Plattsburgh City Hall
Plattsburgh City Hall (file)

Plattsburgh is considering changing the traffic flow of one of its key streets and is also planning to implement new parking fees at other locations.

The city of Plattsburgh is planning to replace old water and sewer lines under Margaret Street beginning in spring 2023. The city recently conducted a survey to gauge opinions on whether the city should also change the traffic pattern along the street’s downtown corridor. Forty-two percent of 900 respondents supported converting to one way with parking on both sides. It is currently two-way with parking varying block by block.

At the latest city council meeting, resident Sylvie Beaudreau reminded councilors they were actually considering an old idea.

“Why if it failed in the ‘90s and had to be reconverted back to two ways are we now considering reverting back to the one way plan?" Beaudreau asked. "And I wouldn’t like to see public resources being devoted to something so expensive that is ultimately going to have to be undone.”

Resident Diana Wardell is excited about the potential change to one-way with limited parking and believes it will lend vibrancy to the downtown.

“Some of my friends would love to see one side parking only or eliminate parking just because it’s so narrow in there and that is again a safety concern," said Wardell.

Ward 6 Democrat Jeff Moore expressed concerns that sidewalk dining must be adequately accommodated and there should be a reversion contingency plan given the street’s history.

“I’m a 'no' vote right now," Moore said. "I’m not against anything that’s there. But I want to have a fallback to be able to change it. It didn’t work in the past. I have that in the back of my mind that it might not work here.”

First-term Democratic Mayor Chris Rosenquest interjected that the traffic pattern change is being considered now because the street also needs underground infrastructure upgrades.

“I’m not of the mindset of well it didn’t work before so don’t so it at all," Rosenquest said. "Fundamentally what this comes down to 1903 infrastructure that we continue to see fail more often than not. That is the whole point of this project. But we should be concerned because we’re seeing increased infrastructure failures on Margaret Street and an unplanned failure of our water and sewer infrastructure downtown will shut down downtown and we don’t have a plan for that right now.”

The council’s Finance and Community Development Committee also heard an update on the city’s paid parking system. Community Development Director Matt Miller noted that because proposed development on the Durkee Street parking lot remains in litigation, any citywide fees must apply to the now free lot. Miller added that new parking fees will also be charged at the city beach.

“The downtown system is intended to pay for the cost of the parking system," Miller said. "The beach rate structure was put together with the idea of paying for the entirety of the operating costs of the entire beach facility on an annual basis. You’ve got about three months between Memorial and Labor Day versus 12 months for the downtown system. The rates for the beach are going to be higher. Access to the beach of course will always remain free but parking at the beach will cost a little bit of money.”

Councilors tabled the resolution to change the Margaret Street traffic pattern.

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