by Barrett Seaman
Facing a growing demand for parking at both its main station and at the Ardsley-on-Hudson Metro North stop, the Village of Irvington has introduced a new “parking app” for smart phone-carrying commuters using the Ardsley on Hudson station. The app, called mPay2Park, will work for only 18 metered spaces at the station, but that will provide at least some relief for those who have been waiting—in some cases for years—to get a regular parking permit.
Users of iPhones and Android phones can download mPay2Park from their App Stores, set up an account and deposit $25 in their phone “wallets” with a credit card. There’s a 35-cent transaction fee on top of the regular parking rates of $7.00-per-day or $35-a-week. The system will notify you when your time is about to expire, and you can extend the time from anywhere, using your phone.
Demand for parking in Irvington has been on the rise for several years now—in part because of a recovering economy and in part because the population of the village has been growing. Ardsley-on- Hudson first moved from coin-operated meters to electronic pay stations, but with all the permit spaces occupied, there were waits to use the pay station, while the trains weren’t waiting.
Irvington does not manage parking at its own Metro North station; the railroad itself has that responsibility for the 258 permit spaces there. Both Metro North and the Village of Irvington issue more permits than they have spots for on the assumption that not every holder uses his or her permit every day.
Frustrated by her inability to move from the 18th spot on a waiting list of 70 for a full permit to use one of 125 slots at the Ardsley station, Cindy Lane resident and attorney, Katerina Medina, launched a campaign last fall to pressure the Village into examining why the waiting list wasn’t moving. Suspecting that some permit holders were using false documentation to renew (the village requires proof of residence like a utility bill or deed), she challenged the village to audit the list and weed out those who had moved out of the area but kept their permits.
Village Administrator Larry Schopfer has acknowledged that a number of Ardsley-on-Hudson permit holders probably no longer need them and that there may be some who have placed their names on the waiting lists of both Irvington and Ardsley-on-Hudson. That said, Schopfer explained that the move to adopt mPark2Pay “came about as a direct result of Ms. Medina complaining about the line to pay for parking at certain times. This avoids the line.“
Specifically recommending the adoption of mPark2Pay was Village Clerk/Treasurer Brenda Jeselnik. “Ever since pay stations were installed last year, we knew it was down the road” as the next step in facilitating the collection of parking fees, she says. The app is used widely at transportation hubs in New Jersey as well as at Metro North stations in Stamford and Darien CT.
The app is convenient not only for commuters but also for law enforcement officers monitoring parking spaces. Their version of the app lets them check whether an occupied space has been paid for and for how long.
It remains to be seen whether Metro North will adopt the app for stations they manage. Those interested in downloading the app can visit www.mpay2park.com or contact the Clerk/Treasurer’s office at 914-591-7070.