I don't like going to this Stop and Shop. Not because of the supermarket itself but because the only way in for pedestrians is via a below street level parking lot. It smells bad, it is dark, ugly and has poor access if you are not in a car.
On the plus side this walk took us past the Church Street/Division Street parking building. Discussions held as part of the current New Rochelle Comprehensive Plan outreach have included a LOT of feedback about parking. Parking is a highly emotive topic and several people were adamant that New Rochelle needs more parking AND it should be FREE. I disagree on both counts. As I may have mentioned before, parking is never free, it is simply a question of who pays for it. And New Rochelle has sustainability goals including to: "Facilitate and encourage the use of sustainable transportation options, including walking, bicycling,carpooling and mass transit, while also reducing traffic congestion and enhancing the safety and efficiency of transportation routes." (page 95 of GreeNR 2010). To reach this goal means encouraging modes of transport other than driving private cars so in my opinion it has plenty of parking.
I have never seen the off street parking near Main Street at anything like capacity so why do people think there is not enough?
I believe one of the reasons is that the signage is so poor many people don't know what's available. I tested this with friends who told me that they would have no idea where to look for off street parking in New Rochelle and yes, these are people who drive and who visit downtown New Rochelle from time to time. Can we please do something to make the parking visible? More and more city centers have prominent Parking signs guiding people from the main thoroughfares to parking buildings. For some reason New Rochelle doesn't yet do this.
Anyway, the Church/Division Streets parking building is only one short block back from Main Street but it's not obvious, has very definite maintenance challenges, and is poorly lit. As a result it has its detractors but I have to confess to liking it. Built in the 1970s it is very much a product of its time.