AvalonWhile we’re aiming to make New Rochelle’s downtown more walkable and bike-friendly, there’s no question that a successful business district still needs safe, attractive, and customer-friendly parking options.

Over the years, the City has worked toward this goal by upgrading parking lots, installing better meters, and adding new spaces on-street.  It’s been an incremental process, with modest improvements building on each other.

This month, at the suggestion of our Department of Development, the City Council approved a much more dramatic and fundamental overhaul of our entire parking operation, utilizing the services of the firm LAZ Parking to oversee every aspect of municipal parking oversight, maintenance, and management.

LAZ will provide about $700,000 in new technology to facilitate pay-by-cell functionality, on-line permitting, and plate-number enforcement.  In addition, LAZ will offer service enhancements like valet parking where appropriate, better way-finding, and improved maintenance.

From a narrow fiscal perspective, this arrangement is basically a break-even proposition, with LAZ’s contract funded out of parking revenue, not property taxes.  More broadly, however, by providing shoppers, diners, and residents with a positive experience, we can certainly help attract investment and strengthen our economy.  Look for the changes to take shape early next year.