Residents in Buffalo's historic Fruit Belt Neighborhood are celebrating a victory in Albany Friday night. The State Senate passed a bill that allows the city to better regulate parking in the crowded area next door to Buffalo's expanding medical campus.
Now that the Senate has passed the bill, it will move along to be reviewed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The local lawmakers behind the effort are confident he will sign it into law soon.
Kenny Olden is nearing 94-years-old and he's spent the last 60 of those in the Fruit Belt neighborhood. He's been frustrated with parking on his street for years. With hospital workers and visitors taking much of the available street parking, it's difficult for residents to find a spot.
"It's a hazard," he explained. "You can't even leave, go to the store, get your groceries and come back and park in front of your house to to bring them in. You've got to drop your groceries off, go down the street to park and come back and pick them up."
Olden is so happy the parking problem has been addressed.
"It's the best thing that ever happened in the Fruit Belt," he said. "It's the best thing that ever happened, where you can park in front of your house and carry your groceries in, or go to the hospital and have an examination and come back and be able to park."
Buffalo City Council Member Darius Pridgen walked around the neighborhood Friday afternoon, letting residents know the bill was passed.
Some of the details still need to be figured out, but residents will be given permits that reserve a spot on the street.
"I do know that half of the street on each side will be residents with permits and the other part will be public," he said. "That means the public will still be able to park on these streets."
Pridgen expects city officials to begin ironing out details on Monday.