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You'll Pay to Park & Ride in Greenwich

Selectmen OK 20% increase of train commuter parking fees.

It's going to cost you more to park and ride the train from any of the train stations in Greenwich next year.

The Greenwich Board of Selectmen approved a 20 percent increase on the coveted parking permits for the Old Greenwich, Riverside and Cos Cob and central Greenwich railroad stations. Outdoor railroad permit fees will rise from $279 to $335; from $488 to $540 for indoor Greenwich Plaza; for the Town Hall Parking Deck permit fees will increase from $279 to $335, and from $488 to $586 at the Sound View lot.

The new rates become effective October 2012.

"There are multiple factors in recommending the increase," explained Alan Corry, the town's parking services director. "The maintenance of parking lots, and the paving costs have gone up substantially." Corry said the last parking permit increase was implemented in 2008. The town also wants to increase the number of mechanized pay stations in some lots.

He also said he expects that the parking rates will increase an additional 5 percent in 2013. Corry said that he hopes the increase also free up some parking permits. "You can see the empty spots every day but the waiting list for a permit is years," Corry said. He also said several surrounding towns have increased their parking permit fees, prompting out-of-towners to park in Greenwich lots.

While the increase will be applicable for the train commuter lots, the additional revenue will be used for maintenance of all town parking lots. While the town manages the commuter lots at the Riverside, Old Greenwich and Cos Cob train stations, the state of Connecticut owns the land, Corry said. An arrangement with the state requires the town to pay 70 percent of its parking permit income from those three lots to the state, he said.

Parking meter and parking permit monies are funneled into the town's parking fund rather than the general fund, to pay for maintenance, Corry said.

Leslie Tarkington, a member of the town's Board of Estimate and Taxation, opposed the increase. Speaking as a citizen rather than in her BET capacity, Tarkington said, "I think this is a substantial increase. I think it would be more realistic if increases mirror the mill rate increases (of 2 to 3 percent) each year. I think residents would understand and respect" a smaller, annual increase."

First Selectman Peter Tesei said that the town should consider recommendations from the BET that town fees be reviewed annually and adjusted to the rate of inflation rather than imposing larger increases sporadically.

Corry said that he will be seeking an additional 10 percent increase in 2013.

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