An alert, ticketed — and ticked-off — “06880” reader writes:
I’ve been a railroad parking permit holder for 20 years. Today I got a ticket because I couldn’t find a spot in a permit lot.
The town has changed the lot by Exit 17 from being permit-only to daily parking only.
I don’t get it. I pay for my permit, yet when I catch a later train (9 a.m. today), I get stuck with a daily fee ticket?
When I went to the police station, I was told that having a permit does not mean you get a space. It strikes me that the town is forcing permit holders who come later in the morning to pay twice to park: once for the permit, then for the daily fee. Do I have this right?
Not exactly. I contacted Foti Koskinas, Westport’s police chief who also administers railroad parking.
He says that the police monitor parking spots every day. There has never been “no parking” for permit holders. In fact, he says, Lot 3 — on the south side of the tracks — has 75 to 100 spaces open every day.
What the department has done is change some of the parking distribution. After taking surveys and watching traffic patters, they realized that the limited number of $5 daily parking spots in each lot caused daily parkers to drive from lot to lot, searching for them.
Now, 2 lots — #4 and #8, one on each side of the tracks — are dedicated solely to $5 daily parking.
By parking in one of those lots — when permit places were available elsewhere — the “06880” reader took a spot away from a daily parker. That’s why he got a ticket, Foti says.
“Just because you have a permit, that doesn’t mean you can park anywhere,” he emphasizes. “We have 6,000 to 8,000 commuters a day. There’s a real science to this.”
In other railroad parking news, new lights will be installed Friday.