Here is Journal News staff writer, Barbara Livingston Nackman report on the parking near the Putnam County Trailway in Carmel that appeared in the September 23rd newspaper.
CARMEL – Town officials are set to restrict roadside parking near the Putnam County Trailway to appease bicyclists who need a place to park their vehicles and neighbors who say parking is dangerous.
The Carmel Town Board tossed out a proposal Sept. 16 that would have banned all parking on Willow Road and Willow Spur.
In a work session Wednesday, the board will discuss a compromise allowing parking on the east side of the streets and to improve the road shoulders.
Putnam County officials are working, as well, to find other parking options for the trail, which follows the old Putnam railroad from Westchester County to the Danbury, Conn., border.
“We want to encourage use of the bike path,” said town Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt. “(But) the health, safety and welfare is paramount.”
The town installed concrete barriers on Willow Ridge when residents raised safety concerns.
Some bike path users have parked “haphazardly”on both sides of the streets – in the road and head-on into a shoulder, Schmitt said. During a recent weekend visit, he saw people sitting in the road putting on inline skates and leaving children in strollers in the road while they arranged stuff in their car trunks.
“This is an accident, a terrible tragedy, waiting to happen,” said the supervisor, a former town police officer.
Willow Ridge homeowner Anthony Garafola said a child ran in front of his car.
“We cannot allow it to continue,” he said.
He said the barriers were ugly and seemed satisfied with a one-side parking compromise.
Bicyclists and pedestrians said parking was essential.
Susan Bittel of Carmel said she walks the trail three times a week and needs a place to park when she does.
“(The path) is a really beneficial – spiritually, emotionally and physically,” she said.
David Wilson, an avid bicycler and Democratic candidate for town supervisor challenging Schmitt, urged officials to provide adequate parking for trail users.
County Legislator Mary Ellen Odell, R-Carmel, is hoping to get permission to use a nearby parking lot at a former plant nursery on Route 6. Most of the roughly 20-space lot is owned by New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection.
“We are fast-tracking this and told the city it is important to us,” the legislator said.
The county is facing litigation from nearby homeowners who oppose an under-construction 60-space commuter parking lot at Mount Hope Road in Mahopac, which could also serve walkers and bikers at another section of the trailway.