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Visitor parking pass may soon cost Albany residents
ALBANY -- It may soon cost you extra money to have your friends and family park in downtown Albany.
One Albany city common councilor has proposed a charge for the visitor parking pass that hangs from many vehicles in the Center Square section of downtown Albany. Richard Conti believes the added fee would cut down on abuse and open up spaces.
Under the current system Albany residents can purchase a parking permit for a yearly fee of $25. Along with their permanent sticker residents receive a complimentary hanging visitor's pass. The visitor's pass is meant to be used on a day to day or weekly basis, and not as a permanent solution to Albany's messy downtown parking problem.
The passes allow the vehicle to stay parked as long as they want in zones marked for two hour parking.
Albany resident Iris Collins says her parking permit investment, at times, as not paid off because she often can't find a place to park in her Center Square neighborhood. Collins says she sees a lot of visitor passes hanging from cars for long periods of time.
"(They are) abusing them definitely. A lot of these are one bedroom apartments and everyone gets one so they can give it to a friend," Collins said.
Under Councilman Conti's proposal the cost of a permanent parking permit, only available to residents who live in the Center Square neighborhoods, would drop from $25 to $20. However, no longer would the visitor's pass be included. That would cost an extra $5.
Albany City Clerk, Nala Woodard, says he believes the added cost would cut down on the amount of visitor passes in circulation. Of the 6,590 permits issued 2,785 are visitor passes.
"Many of the people who want to park downtown don't need a visitors pass," Woodard said.
The City Clerk's office issues and monitors the parking permit program while a division of the Albany Police Department enforces the rules. The city also relies heavily on tips from residents about abuse of the parking permits, Woodard added.
Since the program went into effect, in February, the City Clerk's office received around 35 complaints of abuse, Woodard added.