MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The Putnam County Traffic Safety Board has recommended that parking be prohibited on the shoulders of Route 6 a distance of 30 feet on each side of a restaurant’s entrance and exit in the area known as Restaurant Row in Mahopac.
The Town Board has enthusiastically endorsed the plan.
Carmel Police Lt. John Dearman, who sits on the Traffic Safety Board, presented the idea to the board at its May 9 meeting.
Dearman asked the board to rescind a previous resolution calling for the state to study traffic at the intersection of Route 6 and Crane Road because he believes there are no issues there. In that amended resolution, the board can request the parking restrictions for Restaurant Row, which extends approximately from Cooney Road to Croton Falls Road on Route 6.
Town Board members said they would like to see “No Parking” designations communicated via diagonal lines painted along the shoulders and “No Parking” written on painted curbs, but wanted to avoid actual signs for aesthetic reasons. Dearman said that would be up to the state, adding that the town could put such a request in its amended resolution.
“It’s up to the state because it’s a state highway, so only the state can prohibit the no stopping, standing or parking of vehicles there,” Dearman said. “To make the law enforceable, there may need to be a couple of signs.”
Councilwoman Suzi McDonough said that the new law is necessary because the situation along that stretch of Route 6 has gotten dangerous.
“There is a lot of parking on the shoulder near the entrances of these restaurants and there have been many accidents and near misses,” she said. “I know every time I go to [Ramiro’s], I have to inch my way out [of the parking lot] to see. We are trying to make it safe for the businesses as well as the residents who want to frequent these great restaurants. But we don’t like the ‘No Parking’ signs because it makes the town look ugly. We would rather have the white lines or the writing on the ground if the state will allow it.”
Supervisor Ken Schmitt said that one issue raised by the state Department of Transportation is who would maintain the lines on the shoulders and the painting on the curbs because DOT representatives said they will not.
“If they put it down with the same quality they use at intersections, it will not wear like they do on the road,” Councilman Mike Barile said. “They are on the shoulder [so they won’t get the same wear and tear].”
Schmitt said it was important that the no parking restrictions are made clear to motorists.
“The motorists need to have a clear understanding that it is a no-parking zone,” he said. “It has to be enforceable.”
McDonough asked Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Celestino, who attended the meeting, whether the chamber would be willing to get the word out to the restaurants that would be affected by the law.
“No problem; it’s a dangerous situation,” Celestino said.
Schmitt made it clear that the board doesn’t want to affect business at the restaurants; it’s simply a matter of safety.
“We don’t want to negatively impact the restaurants,” he said. “Our intention is safety—the safety of the motorists. It is bad when they park right on top of the entrances.”