Plattsburgh, NY — Plattsburgh’s new downtown paid parking policy went into effect this week, and some residents and business owner aren’t too happy about it.

Parking is now $1 per hour. A year-long parking pass costs $170, and a 6-month pass is available for around $90.

“I feel like it’s not feasible for a lot of the people that work downtown because they’re going to be working 2, 3, maybe 4 hours and they’re going to have to come out and pay a dollar for each hour which cuts into their paycheck a lot,” said Marc Thompson who works downtown.

Mayor Christopher Rosenquest acknowledged the negative feedback. The city has been studying the change since 2017, he said, and businesses will benefit by opening up more parking on the street as employees and residents move to long-term lots.

“For the most part most people won’t see a change quite frankly,” he said. “Two-hour street parking has been enforced, and it continues to be enforced. More importantly, people who are long-term parkers downtown, people who live downtown, people who work downtown, they really should get a pass downtown.”

Peter Kritziotis, owner of Aleka’s restaurant believes this will put further strain on businesses that have already been hurt by many factors over the last couple of years. “We are running on margins that we’ve never seen before because of labor and because of food costs,” he said. “So we are barely making it in reality. So if the mayor thinks it’s so easy for me to pay for 19 of my employees, I think he’s misguided, I think he’s not thinking this straight.”

Another impact on business and parking will be the Margaret Street project, set to begin in 2023 and last until 2024. Rosenquest says the project will upend Margaret Street and cause interruptions, which is not something he takes lightly and understands people’s concerns and wants to help business owners with.

Rosenquest said with the disruptions to parking from the Margaret Street project, some lots will be free to compensate for the lost spots on the road, part of the flexibility the city wanted when they began this process.