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Mullane proposes legalizing overnight on-street parking in Lockport

LOCKPORT – Alderwoman Anita Mullane proposed Wednesday that overnight on-street parking, which is not allowed in Lockport, should be legalized during summer months.

The issue has been raised before, but the idea always was shot down by the Police and Fire departments, City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri recalled. She proposed it herself during her first year on the Common Council, just as Mullane has done.

Mullane, D-2nd Ward, said allowing overnight parking from May 1 to Oct. 1 would make things easier on residents, and she said Lockport is the only local city she knows of that doesn’t allow some version of on-street parking during warm weather, such as Buffalo’s alternate-side plan. She said she’d like to hear the public’s viewpoints on the issue.

Alderman John Lombardi, R-1st Ward, who touted the idea unsuccessfully in 2008, said retired Fire Chief Thomas J. Passuite always opposed on-street parking because parked cars would make it difficult for fire trucks to squeeze through some of the narrow streets in Lockport’s older residential sections.

Mullane said, “Chief (Patrick K.) Brady said he has no problem with it as long as it’s enforced.”

Lombardi said, “The police didn’t like it because if somebody was out robbing they could hide behind the cars.”

Another issue is families with more vehicles than driveway space. Lombardi said allowing them to park in the streets would be like giving them another parking place. “You’ll never see vehicles moved all summer,” he predicted.

The city sells overnight parking permits for $120 a year, but few citizens buy them, Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said.

On another parking matter, Mullane said she thought the Traffic Advisory Committee had approved two-hour parking on the entire length of Frontier Place, not just opposite the SubDelicious building, as The Buffalo News reported Tuesday.

“We left the meeting thinking that was what we agreed to, until I saw the minutes,” Mullane said.

The city has posted signs allowing two-hour parking in about 12 spaces perpendicular to the street, primarily for the benefit of SubDelicious, which lost its parking when developer David L. Ulrich fenced off his parking lot on Locust Street last summer.

To the east of the sub shop is Niagara Frontier Mall, which is vacant and has no parking, with Ulrich’s parking lot off-limits. The mall is owned by Ulrich’s rival developer, Elmer A. Granchelli.

Council President Joseph C. Kibler said the city shouldn’t commit more parking in the area, in case a developer comes along with plans to build on Ulrich’s lot.

Mullane said the parking spaces just approved don’t belong to SubDelicious. “We’re not saying it’s theirs. It’s public parking,” she said.

The Council should discuss the issue with Police Traffic Capt. Michael F. Niethe, McCaffrey proposed.

The mayor also said the city has plans to paint lines denoting parking spaces along both curbs of Market Street, which would add to available parking in that area. Lombardi suggested that the city sell parking permits to Niagara County employees who work in downtown Lockport so they won’t have to worry about two-hour limitations.