Saranac Lake village to push for River Street parking

SARANAC LAKE – Village officials plan to ask the state Department of Transportation to allow parking along the Lake Flower side of River Street.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau said village Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeff Dora recently measured the average width of the road, which runs along Lake Flower and is part of state Route 86, and found it’s 50 feet, curb to curb.

Rabideau said that’s wide enough to accommodate two 4-and-a-half-foot wide bike lanes, the three existing traffic lanes (two travel lanes and a middle turning lane) and a 9-foot-wide parking lane on the street’s lakeside.

“What would this do?” Rabideau asked rhetorically. “For one, we have a tremendous lakefront. We have parking issues often. People park there for big events illegally, apparently. It’s our biggest attraction along the lake, and to have the ability to park there would be an added value to that attraction and the possibility of the new beach. And it can fit there.”

For the sake of comparison, the mayor said he recently measured the width of another section of Route 86, in front of Curtis Lumber in Ray Brook, and found the shoulders used by cyclists on both sides of the road are 6 inches narrower than those the village could have on River Street.

Village Manager John Sweeney said the village recently asked for a meeting with DOT Region 7 Director Mark Frechette. It could take up the issue of adding a parking lane to River Street then, he said.

Village board members supported the plan.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Trustee Allie Pelletieri.

Trustee Tom Catillaz said the state was supposed to paint bike lanes on River Street when it was converted from four lanes to three in the early 2000s.

“They never spray-painted the bicycle emblem there,” he said. “There’s constantly cars in that lane, and it’s supposed to be for biking only. If we do this, it needs to be emblemed for bikes.”

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or