City of Cortland mayor Brian Tobin and the Common Council at Tuesday’s meeting set dates for public hearings to listen to input from residents about the possibility of odd/even overnight street parking on Hubbard Street.
The first hearing is slated during the May 18 meeting, and the second one is tentatively scheduled for June 15.
The idea for overnight street parking on Hubbard Street first came to light last summer by resident Adam Megivern.
Megivern put a petition together that included over 40 signatures from residents looking to approve Hubbard Street as part of a pilot program for overnight street parking.
According to Megivern, a majority of the properties on Hubbard Street have small driveways. Some of the properties have shared driveways — due to some being multi-family houses — and other properties “have no driveways at all,” he said.
“The issue on Hubbard Street is not up to me, but there’s a consensus among the residents that we all want parking on the street,” Megivern said. “It is for the betterment of the neighborhood. We share the same struggle.
Hubbard Street is part of alderman Troy Beckwith’s ward. Beckwith has been supportive of the idea from the beginning.
“I think we can get this worked out,” he said.
Last September, City Council looked to Cortland’s Public Works and Public Safety Board of Commissioners for a recommendation for approval.
The DPW board, however, voted 3-2 against recommending a pilot program for Hubbard Street.
Alderwoman Katy Silliman (D-2nd Ward) said the board voting against a recommendation is “a big negative.”
“I’m not a fan of this change,” she said. “It’s going to set a bad precedence for the city.”
There were a plethora of reasons the board voted against the idea: the main reason was the city doesn’t allow overnight street parking between 2-6 a.m. due plowing in the winter months and spring cleaning once the weather is warmer.
Aside from potential backlash from the rest of the city and safety concerns, the board also expressed the lack of information around the plan, making it tough to consider a recommendation for approval.
“They wanted to be presented with an actual program,” said Nic Dovi, the city’s deputy superintendent. “They also had concerns with policing and when construction projects got underway.”
Dovi added, “the board questioned if they advocated for Hubbard Street, would 20-30 houses want the same thing next year (or beyond)?”
Despite the setback, Dovi added the board was “not totally opposed.”
“They’re opened to listening again if there’s a detailed plan taking care of this stuff,” he said.
To conduct hearings open to city residents could provide more information for the DPW board, Beckwith said.
“We could get another recommendation and possibly come up with a solution if we give the board plenty of feedback,” he said.
Alderman Bruce Tytler (D-3rd Ward) added he would “like to give folks a chance to voice what they’re thinking.”
“With discussion, there’s a warming and openness to the conversation,” Megivern said.
Alderman Tom Michales (R-8th Ward) questioned whether the struggles Hubbard Street residents face are related to difficulties other streets have dealt with, adding “many city streets are narrow to begin with.”
“If you have a car that’s parked directly across from a driveway and try to navigate either coming in or leaving, it’s certainly not the best solution to this problem,” he said.
Beckwith said the street “indeed has small driveways,” adding that multi-family houses “have to juggle or re-arrange the order of cars.”
“The concept (of overnight street parking) has worked in many cities,” Megivern said. “It can work here.”