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Monday, March 27, 2023
Home Government Rye Town Park Update: MyRye.com Citizen's Report from Caroline Walker

Rye Town Park Update: MyRye.com Citizen’s Report from Caroline Walker

Today we have a MyRye.com citizen's report and update on Rye Town Park by Rye resident Caroline Walker. Wednesday evening, in the midst of a massive snowfall, the Rye Town Park Taskforce held a conference call with Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin (Rye Town, and not Rye City, is responsible for the park). See Walker's last report.

Below are the general RTP Task Force recommendations made to the RTP Commission this evening on a quick conference call.  The next RTP Commission meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 8 at 6pm, Rye Town Hall, 10 Pearl Street, Port Chester where the public will be invited to attend and voice their opinions, thoughts and concerns about Rye Town Park. 

Major Recommendations

1) Erect barriers as soon as the summer of 2010. We believe this is the only viable means of improving park safety for pedestrians. We recommend a seasonal barrier at the northwestern end of the duck pond that extends to the stone wall. This reduction would still allow one-third or more of the park to be used for parking which we believe is a reasonable compromise.

2) Raise parking fees and create a significant differential between resident and nonresident visitors. The proposed changes will also increase weekend and holiday rates and eliminate all free parking.  Proposed pricing is in line with peer beaches. We believe that there will not be a meaningful change in total revenues under the plan we propose.

3) Examine alternative methods of parking revenue collection that minimize cash transactions, maximize accountability, improve traffic flow, and allow for more accurate tracking of parkers.

Other Recommendations:

Employ a traffic engineer to determine the most logical traffic flow within the park, the optimal means of ingress and egress and the best way to organize field parking.

Because this plan involves differentiating between residents and nonresidents, we anticipate the need to change traffic flows in order to prevent traffic congestion on nearby streets. We believe it will be imperative to collect parking fees on the way out and not the way in.

Install more cameras in and outside of all booths (parking and at the gates) to serve the same purpose as above. Increase use of the existing motion sensor to create a checking mechanism against parking receipts.

Encourage other means of transportation.  Explore arrangements with the MTA to create attractive packages that combine gate fees with commuter trains and buses.

Explore other parking areas.  This includes looking for ways to use the 200-car lot adjacent to the North gate of the beach currently owned by the County and used for Playland. Explore shuttle services from off-site parking sites.

Examine issues having to do with alcohol usage and general behavior in the park and ensure that there is adequate enforcement.

Undertake further studies of the residency of car parkers and the approximate duration of their visits to refine pricing strategies in the future.


  1. I am a little baffled at the parking issue(s) at Rye Town Park. I am one of those beachgoers who takes advantage of this beautiful park. It is a nice oasis and, as far as I’m concerned, also well run. As such, I would like to give my thoughts on a few of the issues that have been brought up.

    “The park is unsafe …”

    First off, those that advocate a reduction in attendance at RTP claim that there is a safety issue. I would like some clarification on this point. I have not heard of any injuries being caused by excessive parking. [Granted I don’t work there so I am not privy to all incidents. Please let me know specifics if available.] As a matter of fact, I contend that it is actually safer to park on the grass than the pavement. First off, there are parking attendants in the grass area to direct cars to their parking spot. There are zero attendants in the paved area. Second, God forbid someone is struck by a car, I’d rather it happen on grass than pavement. And yes – I do not believe that we should wait until someone is hurt to discuss this, but just because you have a mix of cars and pedestrians doesn’t automatically equate to a problem.

    And if the parking opponents are concerned about safety, will having cars park at Playland reduce this risk? If so, how?

    “The sheer volume of cars makes the park entirely unwelcoming…”

    Does this sound like a Yogi-ism to anybody (“Nobody goes there anymore…it’s too crowded!”)?

    My observations are that save for a few weekdays when we are experiencing a heat wave, the overflow parking is usually limited to weekends. As a result, this overflow condition really is just for July and August (and maybe late June). I believe this is a fair balance.

    “If RTP made a profit parking, this practice would at least be a little easier to understand…”

    This statement is truly an enigma to me. It seems to say that if, after all this, the excessive parking would allow the park to turn a profit then it might be worth it. Hell, let’s raise parking by $2.00 and you will eliminate the $90,000 deficit. Then the safety and environmental issues will be moot? I think not!

    “The park posts losses each year, and turning away non-residents in the summer would only add to the deficit”

    True. Using my estimate of 20 days (ten weekends) of significant parking on the grass would extrapolate to RTP turning away approximately 14,000 cars. Assuming lost revenue of $20/car (parking, two adults and a child…fair assumption?), this comes to $280,000 of lost revenue. Your deficit has just increased over 200%, while your fixed costs probably drop less than $800/day. And this does not count lost revenue to the concessionaires. Do we want to raise taxes to cover this?

    “Idea of making the Playland shuttle… from the nearby Metro North station…”

    Ridiculous. This is just an attempt to keep “non-residents” out. Very few patrons will bring beach chairs, coolers, etc. on to the train just to go to RTP.

    “Erect barriers [to improve} park safety for pedestrians”

    Now we are going to start erecting barriers in our beautiful park to improve safety when there is no evidence that the park is unsafe?

    I could keep on addressing all of these issues, but the point of the matter is that the park is fine the way it is. Note I didn’t say perfect. Yes, some days there are a lot of cars there. But has the beach ever reached its capacity and had to turn away patrons? Not that I am aware of. Even when the parking grass area is full, there is still plentiful area to enjoy the park without going onto the beach. When I walk from the parking area to the beach, there are many people throwing a football and playing Frisbee on the grass area near the beach. All without disturbing the hundreds (yes – hundreds!) of sun worshipers enjoying the grass area.

    In conclusion, I feel that this entire subject is a non-issue, brought on by neighbors who would rather have the park underutilized to improve their aesthetics. The park was there long before they were, and will be there long after they are gone. Walk through the park today. There is very little evidence of misuse except for the area right by the Duck Pond. We have a spectacular park that provides joy to many. Sure it gets crowded on some days. It should!

  2. Well said average citizen – I second all you’ve said and commend your rundown.

    And BTW, the area by the Duck Pond is actually not I think misused. It in fact bears the scars of a major construction project completed last year to repair the subsurface stream conduit. That’s why I’ve called out the “RTP Task Force” for their disingenuous use of uncaptioned photos of the area in their web site.

  3. Communism is back!

    I went to see if there are any new comments on the http://www.parknotparkinglot.org website regarding Rye Town Park. Guess what??? They took down the comments that were posted there. Of course in the beginning, it was all comments that were supportive to their cause. I posted a few agruments (every one was respectful) questioning their position. Now that the public hearing is a week away, they took them down!

    I don’t know if anybody else is appalled at this, but I am.

    Talk about the utltimate NIMFY.

    I really hope that Mayor French does not fall for their false, unsubstantial claims. While I consider this a ‘minor’ issue when you look at other issues affecting Rye, I certainly hope that the mayor starts his administration off and shows that he will not cowtow to a few residents on an issue that affects a lot of people.

  4. Why is this even a subject?

    Because a few out of towners move into the neighborhood and all of a sudden we should all change the way we live & bow down to them!

    It’s been like this since forever, if you don’t like it close your eyes, shut your mouth, or GO AWAY!
    We are talking about 3 months out of 12 a year and many days the weather doesn’t cooperate, so what is the problem? Last year it rained almost the entire month of June, which means the beach was closed.
    This is only an issue because a few people with “NOTHING BETTER TO DO” say it is!

    Rye is and should always be about TRADITION.
    If we keep taking the TRADITIONS away RYE will no longer be RYE!!!

    The park is very safe and always has been. I would love to see hard facts that support otherwise!

    We like the way we live and we didn’t ask for your opinion.

  5. Good eyes Average Citizen. I had problems with their web site before because of the mislabeling on the park construction area pictures.

    Jimmy I think everyone sees this for what it is – a self centered bunch pushing a non issue. As I’ve said before, improvement is always possible in every endeavor so I for one am not wedded to tradition for the sake of tradition. But I don’t think this group has made a viable environmental argument and I’m afraid they have no compunction about disenfranchising the biggest constituency of our park. In this case, our tradition reflects reasonable compromises.

  6. Average Citizen, your points seem extremely valid to me. I recently read about the projected parking changes in the Rye Record and was quite confused – the park always seemed fine to me, yet our Mayor seems to be riding on the ‘success’ of these new RTP procedures.

    Since when was the objective of the park to keep people away? It is an attractive resource, both to citizens of Rye and our neighbors throughout Westchester and beyond. Come one, come all. Raising prices to these potentially prohibitive levels is going to discourage beach and park usage – why keep people away from something we’ve worked so hard to make appealing?

    If the objective is to increase revenue, then the price increase should not be accompanied by a reduction of available spots – these policies will contradict each other, though allegedly in the name of safety and appeal to users.

    Which leads me to the same question that Average Citizen posed: how much of an issue is safety anyways? We use busy parking lots everywhere – whether they are in front of Kohl’s or on the overflow area at the park really should not make a difference in the safety level. A parking lot is a parking lot. The only time it is not a parking lot is when the spaces are gone, and no one is going to care about safety if they can’t even park, and are forced to return home, or possibly park elsewhere, clogging up the streets of Rye instead.

    Which leads me to the next issue that has been baffling me, regarding student parking at the high school. Students have been parking along Apawamis all year, but after May 1st, when it became illegal to park there, the police began issuing tickets. Apawamis is clear now (but for what reason?) As far as I can tell, not a single Playland patron has benefited from the street now being vacant, but RHS students have been pushed to find alternative solutions. I’ve heard of students parking so far up the Boston Post Road that the closest available spot was in Jerry’s parking lot, a five-minute walk from the school – I’m sure the cars were not appreciated there. This seems to me like enforcement for enforcement’s sake. Anyone who can lead me to believe otherwise is welcome. Expect me at a city council meeting soon.

  7. Yes, the May 1 restriction is to keep beachgoers/playlanders off the public streets of Rye. Nothing wrong with that. However, a group of HS students wrote the Mayor to ask for the ability to park there until school is over. So far they have not received a response.

    One of the nice things about Rye is that it is small enough to be a “friendly city.” If there is some legal issue that keeps the City from turning a blind eye to the HS parking issue, then I have no problem with it. But at least communicate this to the residents (and more importantly) and students. It is a perfect opportunity to explain to them how government works and how sometimes “easy” issues have complex rules.

    But if you ask me, prohibiting the students from parking there is wrong. [But no one asked me!]


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