Over the past year, Pawling has been engaged in efforts to better enforce parking regulations within village limits. In addition to local law enforcement, the Village of Pawling has hired resident Lou Musella as a Civilian Patrol Officer to observe parking trends and issue citations when necessary. Village officials have been working closely with local merchants to achieve enhanced enforcement, as well as distributing pamphlets and posting new signage throughout the area.
The Village of Pawling contains over 40 businesses, and approximately 120 parking spaces, not including the Metro North commuter lot. Cars parked within Village limits must adhere to a three-hour time limit between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The three-hour limit provides visitors with more time than most surrounding municipalities, most of which enforce a two-hour constraint. Before the enhanced enforcement began, officials observed a trend of cars being parking in front of local businesses well beyond the designated time, resulting in a lack of adequate parking for other visitors and shoppers. To help alleviate this problem, merchants and employees may now obtain special parking permits and park in designated spaces on the west side of Memorial Avenue, Arch Street, and Oak Street, and the south side of Broad Street. Residents who rent apartments in the village may also obtain these permits from the Village Clerk.
Commuters who park in the Metro North lot are urged to obtain the proper permits from the Village Clerk, where both residents and non-residents have the option of obtaining annual or semi-annual passes. Those parking at the train station may also make use of the automated ticket machines to avoid citations.
With the winter months approaching, the village also observes a Snow Ordinance from November 1 through April 15. No car is allowed to be parked on village streets between the hours of 12 midnight and 7:00 a.m. Officials emphasize the importance of these regulations to facilitate snow removal in the event of inclement weather overnight.
Lou Musella was hired as a Civilian Patrol Officer in August 2016. A U.S. Navy veteran and former commander of American Legion Hasler-Kamp Post #215, Mr. Musella assumes this position with the full support of the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and the New York State Police. “I think everyone is very pleased with the progress that we have made this past year. We’re making a difference, without a doubt,” says Musella.
In his nearly fifteen months on the job, Mr. Musella has written more than 500 tickets for various parking infractions. More than 300 of these citations for illegal parking, either in the Metro North lot without paying the appropriate fee, or for cars parked in a merchant lot without approval. One hundred eleven citations were also issued last winter for cars failing to adhere to village snow ordinances. Other violations reported included vehicles parked in crosswalks, against traffic, or on the wrong side of the street. Tickets issued for these violations typically include a $25 fine.
Mr. Musella has noted greater improvement in adherence to parking regulations as the year has progressed. “Spreading awareness and the constant reinforcement has really started to pay off,” he says. Local businesses have also expressed appreciation for Musella’s efforts. Balancing the needs of parking in the village for residents, merchants, shoppers, and visitors has been a challenge for years. Since Lou Musella took on the position, that challenge has been met with success. “Thank you, Lou, for doing a great job for all in Pawling,” Peter Cris, President of the Pawling Chamber of Commerce, recently remarked. With this more proactive approach to parking enforcement, village officials believe there will be less congestion and easier access to local commerce, especially for non-residents. “I enjoy this a lot, especially talking with out-of-towners,” says Mr. Musella. “I get to be a spokesman for the community.”