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Thursday, December 1, 2022
Home Green 50 Residents Drive Solutions for Rye Town Park Car Overflow

50 Residents Drive Solutions for Rye Town Park Car Overflow

Today we have a MyRye.com resident report from Caroline Walker, who hosted 50 Rye residents at her home Tuesday evening to discuss issues around the overflow car situation in Rye Town Park in the summer months. Newly elected Doug French and Suzanna Keith were out mixing with the citizens and hearing their concerns.

Here is Caroline's resident report. What do you think of this meeting outcome? Leave a comment below.

Last night [Tuesday] nearly 50 Rye residents, Rye and Rye Town politicians and Rye Town Park staff gathered in a home on Rye Town Park to discuss ways to improve the summer parking situation.  Mayor-elect Doug French and Rye City Council-elect Suzanna Keith joined Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin in their commitment to seeing the park made safe and less environmentally degraded in the summer months. 

All agreed that there is great room for improvement and that a balance between safety and revenue must be reached.  Joe Carvin was open and amenable to new ideas and asked residents to join with his staff to arrive at a list of both short and long term solutions to be put before the entire Rye Town Park Commission in January.  This committee is coming together now and if anyone is interested in joining, or has ideas that should be considered, please contact Caroline Walker at CCTWalker@optonline.net or Kristina Bicher at KristinaBicher@optonline.net.

More information below…

Rye Town Park Centennial

As we celebrate Rye Town Park’s centennial, it is important to remember that the park was designed and intended for public recreation and for pedestrian, not automotive traffic.  People arrived at the park using mass transit, not their cars.  One hundred years later this beautiful park has been converted to a parking lot from April through September and has become unsafe, environmentally degraded as well as unappealing to people who want to use it for its originally intended recreational purpose.  Rye Town Park has always been, and should again be, a “people’s park.”   

In 2009 so many cars parked in the park that we have reached a clear “tipping point” where the number of cars in the park has rendered the park practically unfit for visitors in the summer, exactly when people want to use it the most.  Allowing cars to drive in the park was intended to do two things; 1) to generate revenue and 2) make the park a welcoming place for the public.  The sheer volume of cars makes the park entirely unwelcoming to residents and non-residents alike and, while parking revenues cover a large portion of the operating costs, the park still posts a deficit each year.  Clearly the goals are not being met and it is time to re-think the strategy. 

Understanding that safety is paramount, we also want to make changes that are revenue-neutral to avoid shifting the burden to the taxpayers. We recommend the following:

  • Create and maintain designated and distinct parking areas.  The most critical thing that must be done immediately is to CLEARLY and PERMANENTLY designate defined parking areas and then be consistent.  The true safety hazards come from the areas that are both car and pedestrian.  This is what must stop immediately before a tragedy occurs.
  • Raise parking rates for non-residents.  The ratio of non-resident visitors to the park is significantly higher than residents, who are driven out of the park because of the cars.  Rye Town Park must remain a welcoming place for all visitors, but not at any cost which is the situation now.   Higher rates will maintain income while reducing cars – the desired outcome. 
  • Cap the number of cars allowed in the park.  The parking lot is designed to hold approximately 300 cars.  Summer 2009 saw days with more than 1,000 cars in the park.  This is unsafe and unsustainable.
  • Work with Playland to consider sharing beach parking lot. 
  • Work with County on increasing bus access to Oakland Beach.
  • Eliminate all free parking.  Parking should never be free during the season, even for seniors.  Seniors should be given a discount but free is not appropriate. 
  • Explore off-site shuttle bus options.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Some pretty broad allegations of mismanagement here. I buy none of it.

    I think a more responsible “history” of automobile parking will show peak sunny summer day vehicle counts at even higher levels than Mrs. Walker has experienced since she bought her beautiful home from Fred and Amy 2 years back. In fact Ms. Bicher’s photo archives at the HS will show cars parked from wall to wall in the park in the 1950’s and before. I’ve even seen one they have with Model T’s and A’s stacked throughout the grounds like firewood. Parking management has improved tremendously since those days and while it can always improve further I believe the park management deals with the crush better than Playland deals with theirs.

    What I also believe is that these good people want greater CONTROL of a park we don’t own and whose management is generally good. This cycle of Rye City intrusion has played itself out several times over my half century in Rye and will likely play out repeatedly after we’re all gone.

    To personally celebrate this new wave of local “involvement and concern” I’m going to ask Chris Cohen to lift the secret hinge pins he quietly installed on the Duck Pond fence behind the waterfall peninsula so I can swing my 4 wheel Jeep through it and up and onto the inner hilltop and leave it there for a week. I have it on good advice that ducks love the smell of gasoline in the morning. To them, it smells like victory.

  2. Too bad Otis can’t take care of this. This sounds like an issue that should be ignored!
    Hopefully the new mayor will listen to their issues and, if he feels it is not a problem, tell them so. Case closed.

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