RAVENA — A lot that has long been a vacant grassy area at the corner of Main Street and Pulver Avenue is being transformed into a municipal parking lot.
Much of the work was finished within a few days, but the lot won’t be blacktopped and fully complete until later this year, according to highway department officials.
The village purchased the site earlier this year for the purpose of building a parking lot, largely to accommodate post office customers. For years, drivers have parked on Main Street in front of the post office, but a new law was passed this month that will prohibit that. The new law becomes effective Sept. 1.
Months ago, village officials anticipated a possible parking change and approved the purchase of the lot.
“We are putting a parking lot on the corner of Pulver Avenue and Main Street,” Deputy Mayor Bill Bailey said at the Aug. 7 meeting of the Ravena Village Board. “We are basically moving parking off Main Street into this new parking lot that we had purchased previously.”
Village Trustee Nancy Warner said the parking switch on Main Street was made as a safety measure in a section of the village that has seen its share of close calls on that road, particularly with the heavy truck traffic that travels down the road daily and the narrow roads and parking spaces.
“I believe removing the parking from a portion of Main Street is for the safety of all,” Warner said. “The parking lanes in this area are too narrow and many fling their doors open without looking, causing yet another hazard. Yes, the truck traffic is a contributing factor but the general increased traffic is the real motivation for doing this.”
Construction on the lot began Monday, Aug. 13, and was expected to be completed for the time being within a few days, according to Village Foreman Henry Traver from Ravena’s Department of Public Works.
But more work is on the way.
“The lot will be a stone lot for a short time until it settles down, then in the fall the village may look to blacktop the lot in November, before the snow flies,” Traver said.
The first phase of construction took place over just a few days, and involved work by both village employees and workers and equipment from the town of Coeymans. The two municipalities worked together in a shared services effort, according to Coeymans Highway Superintendent Scott Searles.
“The governor wants shared services with municipalities, so that is what we are doing,” Searles said in an interview. “We have been sharing services with the village for years, but this is the biggest project we have worked on together.”
In addition to town employees working alongside village workers on the project, the town also shared equipment to get the job done, including a Gradall excavator, a Bobcat skid-steer and a roller, Searles said. A joint effort will also save time on the project, Searles said.
“We are getting the base in,” Searles explained. “Once that is in and rolled, then it will be ready to be blacktopped.”
Shared service projects between the village and town were discussed by both the village board and the town council at a joint meeting the two governing boards held earlier this summer. Shared services are encouraged at the state and local level as a savings measure for both.
“I, personally, am very proud to see the village and the town working together on this project,” Warner said.
As for the decision to prohibit parking on that area of Main Street, some local residents have suggested that trucks be banned from using the street instead, but village officials have responded that Main Street is a state thoroughfare, and as such, the village does not have that power.