The parking lot at Sherman School is no longer a parking option for people heading to Penfield or Jennings beaches if they don't have a beach sticker.
Signs have been erected in the school lot on Fern Street, which is several blocks from the waterfront, restricting parking to cars with beach stickers from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Recreation Director Gerald Lombardo said it's an idea he's been contemplating for several years, and stems from concerns raised by both the Parks and Recreation Commission and neighbors. Residents nearby had complained to police about litter and noise from beach-goers parking at the school.
He said he decided to seek permission to restrict the parking during the beach season when "I realized the number of people parking there and not paying to park at the beach."
There are about 40 striped parking spaces and two handicapped parking spaces in the school lot. Parking at either Jennings or Penfield without a sticker costs $25 during the week and $50 on the weekends, reflecting an increase in rates that took effect this year.
Lombardo said he doesn't know how many people had been parking regularly in the school lot, but said it was being used both during the week and on weekends.
Deputy Police Chief Chris Lyddy said the decision to make the lot permit parking only was collaborative between the commission, his department and the Board of Education, which had the ultimate say because it has primary jurisdiction over school property.
"It has been effective," Lyddy said. "We've only issued two tickets since the signs went up and the last two weekends, there were no violations reported."
However, Lyddy said, that has simply moved the problem, and two more neighborhoods are petitioning the Police Commission to make their streets permit parking only because beach-goers have taken to parking there as an alternative.
There are no parking restrictions posted on stretches of Fern Street and Birch Road that border Sherman School's playing fields, while many streets south of Fern Street are limited to permit parking only during the summer.
Lyddy noted, however, there are pockets of unrestricted parking in the area. "There are such strong feelings" on both sides of the issue, he said, with some neighbors dead set against restricted parking. "They don't mind the occasional stranger parking in front of their house, so they can have parking for their own out-of-town visitors."
The Parks and Recreation Commission this year limited the number of daily spaces at the two beaches during the July 4 weekend after fielding complaints last year from residents who said the beach was too crowded during the holiday.
In a report to the commission last month, Lombardo said over the four-day holiday period, daily parking passes for both beaches fell by $33,000 from the previous year, but season passes for non-residents rose by $41,000.
He also told the commission that he will return to the panel in the near future to propose an increase in the $135 season pass for non-residents.