Schenectady lots point to thriving downtown

According to data released in late March by the Metroplex Development Authority, more visitors and downtown employees are parking in the seven Metroplex-operated surface parking lots and Broadway parking garage.

According to Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen, the city saw a 40 percent increase in daytime visitor parking in 2007 with 128,859 visiting vehicles parking, up from 92,164 in 2006.

As the revitalization of downtown continues, we are seeing an across the board increase in use of our parking lots and garage, said Gillen.

Gillen said the results show a major increase in the number of people working, shopping and going to performing arts events like the city's monthly Art Night and shows at the newly renovated Proctors.

Visitors to Proctors or Bowtie Movieland can park free of charge any time in the Broadway Parking Garage. Daytime free parking in the surface lots is limited to two hours.

According to Gillen, the study is also evidence that visitors to the Electric City are staying for longer periods of time. Twenty-one percent of customers studied parked for longer than two hours, which represents an 84 percent increase over 2006; 27,332 versus 14,892.

Gillen said more state workers and private employees are also buying permits to park downtown. Monthly parking permits for people working downtown increased to 1,147 in 2007 up from 350 in 2004.

"More and more people are visiting and working in downtown Schenectady," said Susan E. Savage, D-Niskayuna, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature. "And the parking garage is making money for the first time in a long time."

Though Gillen did not have revenue figures for 2007, he said fees from parking permits, and increased daytime usage have been reinvested to maintain the lots and to upgrade new lighting and security cameras as part of a network of wireless cameras installed downtown.

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