Wassaic Woes: The Harlem Line’s Parking Problem
The MTA senses our pain and frustration. After all, taking the train to and from Manhattan is supposed to be the stress-free (and eco-friendly) alternative to driving. But the parking situation at the Wassaic Station has made it an anxiety-provoking option. The metered spaces at the Wassaic parking lot (which opened eight summers ago) are often completely full by 8:30 AM on weekdays, leading to instances of Railroad Rage. Last winter, many people parked illegally in the permit spots (the fine is $12 for the first offense, but goes up for multiple offenders.) However, getting a yearly parking permit ($217) is not an option for many of us, because Allright Transit Services is selling only “16-hour permits” for the lots at Wassaic, Ten Mile River, and Harlem Valley-Wingdale, which are only useful for daily commuters. If you want a permit to park overnight, you can only get one currently for Dover Plains or Patterson.
As a first step to control the looming crisis, the MTA has posted new signs at Wassaic that instruct frustrated parkers to head to Dover Plains five miles south (bypassing the tiny lot at Ten Mile River), which made us wonder if the MTA has thought about expanding the Wassaic parking lot.“Yes, we are absolutely considering it!” Metro-North spokesman Dan Brucker tells Rural Intelligence. “At the present time we are working on a master plan. We will present it to the Metro North Committee sometime in late summer. It will only be a plan. We are not even in the design stage. But, yes, we want to expand the parking lot and yes it’s on the table.”
Meanwhile, the MTA will resume its Friday night bus connection from Wassaic to Great Barrington—with stops in Millerton and Copake/Hillsdale-—on Friday, June 20. Last year, there were bus connections for the trains that arrived in Wassaic at 7:16 and 10:01 PM, with return service on Sundays with buses departing from Great Barrington at 4:45 and 7:00 PM. “We expect to do the same thing, but it won’t be official until it is posted on our website,” says Brucker.