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Closed Waller Ave. Lot Strains White Plains Shops

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - John Picciano moved his Salon Flair to E. Post Road because it was so close to the Waller Avenue and Lyon Place parking garage. After the garage closed about a year and a half ago, Picciano said neighboring shops are shutting "left and right," and those that remain open feel threatened by customers' parking headaches.

"I lost two-thirds of my business between the recession and this parking garage," said Picciano, who said his staff parks cars for clients who can't find a space after driving around the block a few times. "I've become a valet. I've extended my business hours later and earlier because if I'm here when the masses aren't, it's easier."

Picciano, a White Plains resident, suspected customers pinched by few parking spaces and short meter allotments stopped going to the Fast Signs, Elemental Design Concepts, a sporting good store, and a few other local businesses that went out of business.

Parking Commissioner Albert Moroni said the city expects to strike a deal with the Esplanade hotel that owns the parking lot in the next week or two. The city, which previously leased the bottom two floors of the garage, hopes to build and share a new parking facility with the Esplanade.

Still, many store owners say White Plains must act quickly because the E. Post Road economy is in limbo. Diane D'Angelo, who co-owns the D'Aprilia Salon , estimated she lost a third of her customers when the Waller Avenue garage closed.

Vino 100 owner Stuart Levine said his business has taken a 10 to 20 percent hit since the garage shut. Vino 100's staff has expanded it's car-side delivery service for customers who call in orders. Other businesses, including PIP Printing and Marketing Services have begun telling customers to come in when neighboring parking lots tend to be less busy, according to owner Alan Goldman.

"This has been closed for way too long before the city got in on it," said Picianno, who blamed former Mayor Adam Bradley for not getting involved and praised Mayor Thomas Roach for coming to his salon to learn about his concerns. "Roach is working on it. But what are we left with? Purchasing time. When are we going to get the lot? When am I going to be able to not worry?"

Does the availability of parking influence what shops or salons you frequent? If so are there any other areas in White Plains that you avoid because parking has become so difficult? Email thoughts to strangle@mainstreetconnect.us and we'll include your responses in future coverage.

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