A few weeks ago commuters were surrounding over 100 very coveted parking spaces in the Tarrytown Metro-North lot.
At the latest Board meeting , as he has on Patch. Your spaces will be replaced, Blau assured commuters, but you may have to walk a little farther to get to them.
Among the many grains of salt in the wounds of parking in Tarrytown (which non-residents pay over $1,000 annually for), there is that $10 parking fee for Yankees games.
Some have called this discrimination against Yankee fans.
Michael Cohen, of Rockland County, who regularly commutes by way of our lot, wrote of the history of this:
Two years ago, they decided to start charging when there were home Yankee games. I argued with them that they were discriminating against Yankee Fans. Parking signs clearly said 'Yankee Parking.' Why don't they charge when people are going to the Mets game or to a Rangers game - or even to see an opera. Well, they solved that problem by removing the word 'Yankees' from all their signs and just show up when the Yankees are in town. So much for free parking at night and on the weekends.
The “they” he refers to who started charging is not Metro-North but the Village itself, who when dealing with a new surge of interest in game-parking here, starting charging for the spaces. The village and the Pro Park company that collects the fees split the proceeds, which can come by day or on those "free" nights and weekends.
The other night I noticed a parking problem for our own sports teams, now that another "Temporary Commuter Lot" has taken over many Losee Field spaces. It was a nice night on the riverfront, with a steady stream of cars looking to park near the Washington Irving Boat Club or the baseball and softgall games happening adjacent, but they all had to turn around and find spaces closer to the train station.
Mayor Drew Fixell said in response to folks protesting the escalating parking squeeze, “the important thing to remember is that we have always had surplus spaces (except during the afternoons of Yankee games, when fans fill in the empty spaces), so that even if there were to be a decrease [with the new developments], so long as it was not substantial, commuters should not be impacted.”
Except during the afternoons of Yankee games...
Tarrytown resident Jon Marks, who uses the commuter lot, stood up for the sports fans. "I’m only a fair weather Yankee fan, but it would be a shame if the real fans were turned away from the Tarrytown commuter lot. Even 100 fewer cars trying to negotiate the Major Deegan would be a positive environmental contribution."
Those who do dare drive down the Major Deegan face a giant parking surplus at the new Yankee Stadium but will pay a pretty penny for it: the stadium went overboard with a now mostly-empty lot that charges upwards of $35 per space.
Those who commute, however, face the $10 fee here, plus the train round-trips, then of course the cost of the game itself. Often the game (just $3 tickets Monday when they played the Blue Jays) can be less than the travel to get there. But that depends on the game. Red Sox vs. Yankees: $15.95; Pinstripe Bowl, $91.
One cab driver waiting for a fare at the Taxi Stand at Village Hall, who happened to be standing next to the temporary red $10 Parking sign said, “you pay parking here, the train, then the tickets? No. You can't take your family to a game.”
Mayor Fixell said that Metro-North, who owns the small metered lot south of the station ("land" side) used as a staging area during construction for a year, has been “making some noises about trying to leverage the lot to get us to drop the Yankee parking fees, so we'll have to do some analysis and see what makes sense.”
Fixell dated the surge of interest in parking on game days in Tarrytown back to when the new Metro-North station opened at the stadium, and "demand for the train boomed."
Yankees fan discrimination? Or, non-resident? Or, Tarrytown just tending to our own?
"Tarrytown residents, whether or not they have a permit, do not have to pay [the $10 parking fee on game days]," said Fixell.
Fixell further explained,
We charge the fee only prior to Yankee games since that is the only time that the demand is so great during normally off-hours that the parking service finds it worthwhile to operate. Further, the increase in traffic imparts financial and quality of life costs to the village in terms of traffic, pollution, wear and tear, etc., for which the residents of Tarrytown ought to be compensated. It has nothing to do with the Yankees, per se, and we would probably do the same if there were some other use by non-residents that regularly and predictably generated such a substantial demand for parking. It really is not very different from the reasoning that underlies charging for parking during commuter hours.
While Rockland County's Cohen said, "Commuters are being squeezed to the point that they have no place to go," at least one Tarrytown Patch reader expressed a different sentiment:
"To the Yankee fan, his friends, and others who use Tarrytown as a convenience before and after games or other events in NYC.....please DO find another village to infest."