Story by Katie Bisaro
Prior to the start of the regular meeting of the Village Board of Trustees on Mon., Dec. 17, Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard held a moment of silence for two members of the community with ties to Village Hall who recently passed away.
Newhard asked the Board to keep the family of former Mayor Frank Lacalamita in their thoughts upon the passing of Lacalamita’s wife, Kathryn “Kate” Lacalamita.
The Board was also asked to remember William Wendel, Jr., who recently passed away. Wendel, Jr. was the son of William Wendel, Sr., a former Village of Warwick Trustee and brother of Arthur Wendel, a longtime Village Department of Public Works (DPW) employee.
Apple Eve in the Village
The Village will once again host “Apple Eve” on the Railroad Green in the center of the Village on Mon., Dec. 31. The festivities will kick off with the raising of the apple “ball” that will then be “dropped” to ring in the new year at midnight.
Warwick FD Celebrates 150 Years in 2019
This year’s Apple Eve will also kick off a year of celebration for the Warwick Fire Department (WFD), which has existed as a volunteer organization for 150 years. Weather permitting, the WFD is hoping to show off its new ladder truck to raise the apple.
The fire department plans to celebrate its sesquicentennial throughout 2019 with several community events planned.
Trustees Discuss Village Street Parking
Trustees Eileen Patterson and Bill Lindberg, along with DPW Supervisor Michael Moser, have been looking at street parking issues along Elm St., Wheeler Ave., and Park Ln. in the Village.
Elm St. Parking Concerns
Patterson expressed concern about the parking on Elm St., particularly during large events at the United Martial Arts Center (UMAC) on West St., as well as at the dance studio on Wheeler Ave. Overflow parking often ends up on both sides of Elm St. during events. Patterson is concerned about the safety of the families who crowd onto Elm St. and walk to the events at UMAC or the dance studio.
Suggestions and solutions that were discussed included allowing parking on only one side of Elm St., prohibiting parking close to the intersection with West St., or possibly prohibiting parking on Elm St. altogether.
The Trustees were reluctant to prohibit parking altogether as parking in the Village is always at a premium. Furthermore, prohibiting parking would also prevent residents on Elm St., and their guests, from parking there as well.
It was proposed that a sign be put up to ban parking on Elm St. several feet from West St. up to the corner.
Wheeler Ave. Parking
The Trustees agreed that no changes were needed for parking on Wheeler Ave. There are already signs prohibiting parking from a certain distance on Wheeler up to the corner at West St. Additionally, the dance studio parking lot has an exit onto McEwen St. which leads right to a municipal lot on Spring St.
Motorists Should Be Aware of Crosswalks on West St.
In order to make motorists more aware of pedestrians crossing West St., Moser will place the “Stop for Pedestrians” stanchion on the crosswalk in front of the UMAC facility leading to Wheeler. Drivers are not always as attentive to stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks outside of the central business district in the Village. There is a similar crosswalk at Pond Ln. and the Village Cove Condominiums, where motorists should also be stopping for pedestrians.
Park Lane Parking
The Trustees also discussed parking issues on Park Ln. Residents have expressed concern about limited sight lines when pulling out of driveways and requested that parking be restricted to one side of the street only.
At 34 feet, five inches, Park Ln. is one of the wider streets in the Village, with plenty of room to park on both sides of the street. Bill Lindberg suggested signs prohibiting parking close to the corners of Park Ln. and Park Way for better visibility at that point. Additionally, yellow stripes could be placed near the Park Ln. driveways in order to keep parked cars further away from those outlets and improving visibility for residents who are exiting.
Trustee Lindberg will write a summary of the parking issues discussed for review by the Warwick Police Department and Village Attorney Stephen Gaba.
No action can be taken on any of the recommendations until new local laws are proposed and public hearings are held regarding each matter.
Trustees Discuss Overnight Parking Ban
In another related topic, the Board of Trustees discussed the enforcement of overnight parking in the Village. Overnight parking is not allowed on Village streets from Nov. 1 until Apr. 1.
Trustee Barry Cheney pointed out that local laws cover the parking ban on Village streets but not in municipal lots. Cars parked in municipal lots overnight during the winter months impede the DPW’s ability to clear snow during storms. Some residents, according to DPW Supervisor Moser, park at Stanley-Deming Park over several days. The Trustees acknowledged that parking for Village residents, particularly those renting apartments with no designated parking, is difficult during the winter months with the overnight parking restrictions.
Local Law, Signage Necessary to Enforce Parking Ban in Lots
Except for the South St. Lot, there are no signs at this time prohibiting overnight parking at the park or municipal lots. In order to put up signs and enforce a parking ban, a local law must be included in the Village Code. The matter will be looked into further to determine if a local law is necessary regarding overnight parking in municipal lots and parks during the winter months.
“I think it’s worth looking into and standardizing if we can. As long as we look at the issues of tenants and what they have to do, that’s the critical thing,” Newhard said.
The next meeting of the Village of Warwick Board of Trustees will be held on Mon., Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, located at 77 Main St. in Warwick NY.