Free parking along Routes 100, 202 and 116 in Somers for commuters using the Croton Falls train station in North Salem will soon be a thing of the past.
The MTA is buying 12 Croton Falls Road, the former site of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, to build 450 permit-only parking spots for the commuters.
When the parking lot is done, the Department of Transportation will ban parking along those roads, said North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas.
Lucas met with the MTA last week to learn more about the plans.
According to a report from the MTA in April, it will pay St. Joseph’s $3.1 million for the plot. St. Joseph’s moved its operation several years ago from Croton Falls to 95 Plum Brook Road. Its former church, school, rectory and a convent will be razed for the parking spaces.
Over email, MTA spokeswoman Nancy Gamerman noted that the deal is not finalized and is still being negotiated. St. Joseph’s did not immediately return calls for comment.
The lot would provide 450 spaces (with the possibility of 200 more at a later date) for commuters just under a half mile, or a 9-minute walk, from the train station.
“Currently, there is a lack of suitable parking near the station for approximately 200 commuter vehicles,” the MTA said in the report. “This has resulted in vehicles being routinely parked in unauthorized locations, including the shoulders of busy streets and on highways which lack sufficient sidewalks and lighting.”
Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey acknowledged that some might be upset by this plan.
“As a town supervisor, I know my main concern is public safety,” Morrissey said. “I’m well aware of the dangerous situation over there, so from that perspective I think it’s going to be a very safe move to get those cars off the road.
“Now, on the other side of the coin, there are people who have been parking at no charge and it may create a bit of a hardship,” Morrissey said.
The lot, the MTA said, will also “alleviate overflow parking at the nearby Purdy’s Station” and provide a “convenient and safe parking amenity.”
Gamerman did not answer questions about how much MTA will charge to park in the lot or when those spaces would be available to purchase.
“We can’t respond to those questions until the deal is finalized,” Gamerman said.
Lucas said the lot will allow additional people to use the Croton Falls train station but keep the cars out of the hamlet.
He said sidewalks will be built but doesn’t yet know if there will be vans or buses going from the lot to the train station.
Morrissey said the town’s only request to the MTA was that the lot not be an eyesore for the neighborhood.
“We asked that they keep the lighting to the site and provide screening,” Morrissey said, “so when you’re driving down a nice bucolic road like Croton Falls Road you don’t just come upon a sea of blacktop.”