Albany's downtown residential parking permit program is experiencing growing pains. Officials are scratching their heads - permit applications are down by half in the program's second year - no one is quite sure why.
Albany's permit system restricts long-term parking for 2,750 spaces on residential blocks within 3/4ths of a mile of the Empire State Plaza to permit-holding residents.
"I drive though there quite a bit to see a number of open spots during the day and I recognize that it's fairly easy to park now during the day." Albany Police Chief Steve Krokoff says new technology has made enforcement easier and more precise. Assembly members Pat Fahy and John McDonald along with state Senator Neil Breslin have sponsored a bill that would expand the permit system's pilot period from two to four years so officials would have more data to use in determining whether the program is functioning as it should. It sunsets February 15th of 2015. Should the measure fail to pass in June, the Legislature won't get another chance to vote on it until January 2015 - close to the expiration date.
Red-light runners have become a dangerous norm in Albany. Now, city officials and state lawmakers want to bring red light cameras — which snap photos of vehicles illegally zipping under traffic signals — to Albany's most dangerous intersections.
The mayor says it's not about revenue, while the police chief stresses it's all about safety: a bill that allows for the City of Albany to adopt a local law establishing a "five-year demonstration period" during which red-light cameras would be mounted at strategic intersections where motorists routinely ignore traffic-control devices.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Police Chief Steve Krokoff have thrown their support behind state legislation that would allow the city to roll out a 5-year "demonstration" program to install cameras that would capture images of vehicles that run red lights. Cameras would be mounted at many of the city's most dangerous intersections. The sponsors of the bill - state Senator Neil Breslin and Assembly members Pat Fahy and John McDonald flanked city officials during a press conference at the Pine Hills Library.