The Dutchess County city takes action to make Main Street more accessible with increased parking and transit solutions.
We all know the frustration that comes along with wanting to take a day trip to a not-so-far-away town and arriving to find absolutely no parking nearby. As the minutes tick by — and your gas levels tick down — while you circle the same packed streets for a spot, you wonder how anyone manages a visit, let alone lives in town.
Beacon is one of those towns.
With a population of 15,000, the City of Beacon is a perfect example of a great place that draws a lot of attention and visitors but has insufficient parking. Thankfully, the city is pushing its Main Street in the direction of improvement. Issues pertaining to parking, traffic, transit, and pedestrians are being reconsidered in hopes of finding a solution for visitors and residents alike.
“We have witnessed a number of close calls and know of at least two people who have been hit by a car on Main Street in the past year,” explain Andrea Podob and Carolyn Baccaro of Hyperbole, a clothing and gift store located on Main Street. “As for parking, there definitely isn’t enough and it negatively impacts shops like ours on busy days.”
The Beacon City Council meeting on January 21 kicked off the discussion of a new initiative proposed by Mayor Lee Kyriacou called the Main Street Access Initiative.
“The City has not kept pace with development in terms of planning for and providing Main Street parking, traffic management and pedestrian access,” says Mayor Kyriacou. “We must quickly make some basic improvements in Main Street access, while laying out plans for longer term capital investments.”
The Main Street Access Initiative is a project that will spark the start of significant changes to parking and transit that will ultimately allow for more visitors to Beacon, while also thinking about the needs of residents.
Basic components of the initiative consider both long-term and short-term goals for the city.
Short-term improvements include:
- Large blue “P” parking signs
- Modified striping to create extra parking spaces
Long-term improvements include:
- Investment in appropriate infrastructure
- Funding for parking facilities and transit options
The Main Street Access Initiative will be no small feat. The long-term goals alone are projected across a 10-year timeline.
The Mayor will appoint members and a chair to form a special committee that will consist of interested Main Street business owners and Beacon residents, allowing them to help with future decisions. Mayor Kyriacou notes that he will “work closely with the City Council to establish, set goals for, and provide resources for this initiative.” As the program takes off, the committee will take into consideration where current and projected parking will be, how changing patterns of private vehicle use might impact traffic and parking plans, and what funding will look like in regard to grants, fees, and taxes. The mayor suggests that the committee takes on this project block-by-block in order to optimize parking on each side of Main Street.
Because Beacon is home to such a large number of local businesses, the Main Street Access Initiative could bring some promising changes. With a better parking spot, walking over to Kitchen Sink Food and Drink for dinner, Hudson Valley Marshmallow Company for a treat, or Story Screen Beacon to catch a movie will be that much easier.
“Our Main Street is the heart of Beacon,” Mayor Kyriacou says. “Improving access is critical to Main Street’s ability to handle more people living nearby, which itself is critical to Main Street’s viability.”