Turnover on Sewickley Parking Authority board reduces members from 5 to 3

Thursday, January 2, 2020 | 4:52 PM

The Sewickley Parking Authority board, originally a five-person body, is down to three members.

Since 2016, the authority has enforced payment and managed parking in the borough. But multiple members of the board, which determines parking policy, resigned in the second half of 2019. Those who remain plan to oversee key changes to Sewickley’s parking situation that have already gone into effect.

Sewickley council appointed Richard Webb, Delvin Miller, Daniel Albano and David Saint Jacques to the board in April 2018, after the previous five-member board resigned earlier that year, the Sewickley Herald reported. The reconstituted board took steps to evaluate the borough’s parking machines, which have drawn customer complaints. They’ve also worked to encourage longer-term parkers to park outside of the central business district.

Webb, who served as chairman since 2018, resigned from the authority board in September. He declined to provide a reason for leaving.

After taking over as chairman, Miller led an effort to finalize new rates and time limits for 2020. But Miller resigned last month, after council decided not to extend his board term into this year.

Miller said his work on the board is only partially done and that he expected his term to be extended, given the changes the authority has made for this year and the amount of money it has saved for future improvements. He added that the authority was on track to end 2019 with $450,000 in savings and planned to use the money to replace existing machines.

Miller said board member David Saint Jacques also resigned this past fall.

Albano had resigned in mid-2018. Current board chair Sandra Marr joined the parking authority in August, according to meeting minutes. She did not return a message requesting comment.

Vice-chair Brian Turk joined the board shortly after Marr, Miller said.

Turk will serve through the end of 2020 and Marr will serve through the end of 2021. Andreas Schulze Ising, who joined the board in December, will serve through 2022, according to borough Manager Marla Marcinko. She did not say why Miller was not kept on the board. She also said she did not have information on Saint Jacques’ resignation.

Marcinko said in an email that Webb cited reasons “unrelated to the operation of the parking authority” in his resignation letter.

Schulze Ising said the new board will oversee changes to rates and time limits, then evaluate the best path forward.

Changes that went into effect Jan. 1 include a three-hour time limit in Zone 1. Parking now costs $1 per hour in zones 1 and 2, but Zone 2 has no time limit. Enforcement occurs Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“The most important thing is to start doing due diligence on the existing situation and evaluating that. It’s going to take us a couple months to really observe and really get our hands on the current situation and try to really make this better,” said Schulze Ising.

He said 45 spaces on Walnut Street are available for all-day parkers to lease. The spots, he added, could entice employees to park farther away from the central business district, making spots available for customers.

In October, Miller told the Sewickley Herald about plans for a six-month trial of 10 coin-operated meters, to begin early this year. Schulze Ising said the trial is currently under evaluation, and that the board would discuss the issue during its Jan. 10 meeting.

The “due diligence” process for the new board includes evaluating pay stations, the MeterFeeder app, rates, parking times and the misuse of Sewickley as a “park and ride” by those catching a bus downtown.

“We are committed to make parking in Sewickley the best experience possible, but we depend on everybody’s honest feedback and ideas,” Schulze Ising said in a written statement.

In an email, borough council President Jeff Neff said that parking authority meetings have not been well-attended. He urged those with parking concerns to attend.

He added that the parking authority is not revenue driven.

“The authority was developed to examine the paid parking in Sewickley and to help alleviate any issues. The new polices that were put in place were to help keep the prime spaces in Zone 1 fluent so patrons can visit the businesses,” he said.

There are many unused parking spaces in Zone 2 that are close to Beaver Street, he said.

“I believe you will see a huge difference once the longterm parkers move to Zone 2 and the spaces in Zone 1 open up,” said Neff

To ensure that the board can consistently achieve the necessary three-person quorum for meetings, Schulze Ising said the parking authority is looking for two additional board members. Terms are designed to last five years, according to Marcinko, although board members have taken over seats vacated by resignations.

“Anyone interested in being considered for appointment to the Parking Authority should complete a talent bank application, which is available on the borough’s website, (sewickleyborough.org)” Marcinko said. “Appointments are made by the president of council.”

Residents interested in serving on the board can also send an email to [email protected]

This story has been updated to include Neff’s comments.