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Albany's parking permit system in effect

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Albany/HV: Albany's parking permit system in effect
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Parking may be a problem today if you're driving in downtown Albany. The city's residential permit parking system has gone into effect. As our Megan Cruz reports, already people are voicing some concerns.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "The only residents this would help would be people who are in an out during the day," said Bethany Hawk.

Unfortunately, that's not her. She works all day at the Plaza, but leaves her car parked by her place on Lancaster Street.

"I don't drive ever, there's no point driving," she said. "So now I have to pay to keep my car parked during the day."

Albany's residential permit parking system went into effect Tuesday. It restricts street parking in the neighborhoods around the Empire State Plaza.

If you're a resident of those areas, you can purchase a $25 permit to park all day on those limited streets. Without a permit, you can only park for two hours between 8 .a.m. and 6 p.m.

Hawk says those hours don't make sense for residents.

"The time I have the most trouble parking is in the evening," said Hawk.

"Normally when I get home from work, which is usually around 7 or so," said Jason Dileo, who also lives downtown. He stopped by City Hall for his permit Tuesday.

Supporters of this system say it's not just about freeing up thousands of spots. It's also about getting more people to use public transportation.

DiLeo says he's open to whatever may mean fewer cars in his neighborhood.

"Not exactly happy I have to pay to park, but at the same time, I have a really hard time parking so if it kind of lightens it up a bit, I guess it's ok," he said.

But this system doesn't just impact residents. It also impacts commuters like Johnathan Lawrence. He works downtown fixing computers and copiers. He says he'll be on the lookout for police.

"Will have to park for two hours, then come out and move my car to another parking space," said Lawrence.

He says his employer has yet to buy permits. The spokesperson for Albany Police says not to worry.

"We'll be issuing warning tickets for the next 30 days because we know this is new, and we just want to make sure everyone has ample time to adjust," said Officer Steve Smith.

For now, people say they'll put the brakes on complaining, and just go along for the ride.

"I mean, it's $25 - no huge deal," said Hawk. "But I think it's just another way for the city to get money."

"I'm definitely hopeful," said Dileo. "I usually have to park two or three blocks away from my apartment."

City leaders say there's a two-year trial period for this system. For it to be permanent, the State Legislature will have to approve it in 2015.

For more information on the Residential Parking Permit System, visit www.albanyny.org.

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