November 26, 2021

Hearing set on Hubbard Street

Discussion to explore possible pilot program for overnight parking

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Cars pull in and out of driveways Tuesday evening on Hubbard Street in Cortland. The city’s Common Council will have a public hearing at its next meeting as it decides whether to allow alternate-side, overnight parking on the narrow street.

Cortland residents and residents of Hubbard Street will be able to voice their opinion later this month on whether the city should adopt a pilot program to allow overnight parking on the street.

Following a discussion by Cortland Common Council on Tuesday, Mayor Brian Tobin, per the recommendation of Councilperson Troy Beckwith (D-7th Ward), announced the council will have a public hearing at the May 18 meeting on the issue of overnight, alternate side parking.

The program, which had been raised and postponed last year, would allow for cars parking overnight on different sides of the street, based on the date. Auburn, Ithaca, Syracuse and Binghamton have similar programs.

A petition was created in 2020 with about 40 Hubbard Street resident signatures supporting the program as homes along the street have short, narrow driveways, making it hard for vehicles to leave when multiple cars are parked.

“Personally, I think we can get this worked out,” said Beckwith, who represents the street.

Tobin opposed the plan because having cars on the street — which is narrow — can cause problems for city Department of Public Works crews when plowing snow. This can be further troublesome if people forget to switch over their cars to the other side of the street, leading to having vehicles parked on both sides of the street and making it very hard for large vehicles to get by.

Councilperson Kathryn Silliman (D-2nd Ward) also opposed the program, saying it would set a precedent for other streets in the city to want on-street parking.

In September, the city Public Works and Public Safety Commission voted, 3-2, against recommending the program.

Silliman said the fact the board voted against it “is a big negative for me.”

Councilperson Kat McCarthy (D-1st Ward) asked if any guidance was provided by the commission for the program.

Nic Dovi, deputy superintendent of public works, said the board wanted a detailed program for how the parking would work.

McCarthy then asked where in the process whether a detailed plan would be created. Beckwith said having a public hearing will help lay the groundwork for the program.

“That’s why I want to have a public hearing so then we can draft a proposal to send over to the city,” he said.

Hubbard Street resident Adam Megivern, who is leading the change, said it sounded like there was some openness by the council to have the hearing after Councilperson Bruce Tytler (D3rd Ward) said he was in favor of hearing more on the issue.

“I really think the issue for Hubarrd isn’t unique, but I think there may be some consensus among the residents of what we want in parking on the street,” Megivern said.

Noting that parking in the tight driveways can be cumbersome, Megiverns said “we’re just asking for use of that shared public space.”

The city, he suggested, could try the program on Hubbard Street and then look at other streets who may face similar issues on a case-by-case basis.

A second public hearing on the program will be at a later Common Council meeting.