Potsdam village rethinking parking restrictions near Five Guys as congestion ebbs
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 12:07 pm

By CRAIG FREILICH
North Country Now

POTSDAM -- The village is rethinking its plan to ease traffic snarls by restricting parking near the new Five Guys restaurant on Market Street.

The initial enthusiasm for the new restaurant resulted in a jammed parking lot, heavy use of parking spaces along Elderkin Street, where the restaurant’s driveway is, and traffic lanes blocked by delivery trucks on the street.

But since the September opening, the parking and traffic problems have eased now that the excitement over the new eatery has eased somewhat, and concern over restricting parking on both sides of Elderkin have risen, forcing the board to reconsider that plan.

The Board of Trustees held a hearing Monday on proposed changes to local law that would have prohibited parking on both sides of narrow Elderkin Street in an attempt to relieve residents there of some of the traffic congestion.

No one spoke at the hearing, but it might be just as well, since a consensus of trustees has apparently found that the changes to parking are not necessary, and some of the Elderkin residents who complained are now inclined to agree.

Within two weeks of the restaurant’s opening, Tim and Kim Damon, operators of Bright Beginnings Day Care, 5 Elderkin St., spoke at a village board meeting to complain about the danger the traffic was posing to the children they care for and inconvenience to everyone on the street. However, they have recently told officials the problem has for the most part abated.

Trustee Steve Warr said that in the seven weeks since the Sept. 16 opening of Five Guys, the problem has “blown over.”

Trustee Maggie McKenna, who takes Elderkin Street “every day to day care,” agreed with Warr.

Trustee Abby Lee said an increased police presence in the area has also served to ease problems.

“Folks are content now,” said Village Administrator Greg Thompson at Monday’s meeting. “They’re not so much worried about parking at Five Guys. They’re worried now about where people would park when friends come over” if parking were banned on both sides of the street.

Trustee Cindy Goliber, who lives two streets over on narrow Washington Street, agreed. “I couldn’t imagine what would happen if my family came over” and there was no place to park on the street.

Mayor Ron Tischler said constituents who had “contacted me wanting restrictions are now calling me back” telling him not to ban parking on both sides of the street.

“I would like us to sit on it” and not immediately adopt the change in the law to ban parking on Elderkin, Goliber said.

Public Works Superintendent Jim Corbett concurred. He had suggested the change to parking there, but said Monday that problems have “calmed down considerably.”

It appears now that the proposal to ban parking will be put aside and a new local law will be drafted proposing to limit parking on only one side of Elderkin.