Downtown parking concerns addressed

TICONDEROGA Ticonderoga is getting a new street in response to concerns about downtown parking. The Ti highway department has started work on a one-way thoroughfare between Two Brothers Meat Market and Verizon on Montcalm Street that will connect with Carnegie Place near the Black Watch Memorial Library. The new street will run behind Montcalm Street businesses and allow for parking. Parking has been an issue in the area since Essex County banned parking on the Montcalm Street bridge spanning the LaChute River. The elimination of those parking places, Ti Supervisor Bob Dedrick stressed, was a county mandate. The bridge width is two feet less than what is required to allow parking on both sides of the street, Dedrick explained. That meant either the bridge had to be made wider or parking had to be eliminated on one side of the street in that area. Making the bridge wider would be costly, especially since the width of the adjacent sidewalk can not be reduced because of handicap accessibility laws, Dedrick noted. I never knew about the distance the county requires, Dedrick said. We really didnt have a choice about the parking places. We cant widen the road or reduce the sidewalk. Business owners in the area have been upset by the parking changes. Francine Burke of The Country Florist started a petition drive seeking a solution to the problem. In recent weeks our parking in downtown Ticonderoga has decreased significantly, the petition reads. However, more importantly, the businesses that were affected the most were not even informed of the dramatic changes that would take place. Why werent these merchants informed prior to the changes? We also believe that these alterations could have occurred in a better manner. A practical solution would have been to first put in a public parking area before removing available parking on the bridge. This would have alleviated the disbelief and shock of all parties involved. It is our duty as merchants and as a town to provide our customers and visitors with safe parking. We must work together in this matter to resolve this issue in a quick and safe manner, it continues. The downtown merchants as well as the town rely on summer business and we cant wait until it comes to a close. Joe Namer of Two Brothers Meat Market said the decreased parking has affected his business. People dont want to walk, he said. If they have to walk to get here, theyll go somewhere else. Dedrick said the new road will be gravel until a state grant arrives to allow paving. He expects that to happen in about a month. Signs will be erected on Montcalm Street directing cars to the new street and parking, he said. Dedrick said town officials considered building a parking lot next to the river on the south side of Montcalm Street, but decided against it because of trees and power lines that would have to be moved.

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