Can Someone Please Help This Man?


I get the sense this letter-writer has put some thought into his commute. Any advice for the Man Who Thinks of Everything is appreciated.

Dear Trainjotting,

I have been really appreciating your internet blog, since you have the precious qualities of both being smartly aware of your territory, and being very generous in sharing valuable information.

I am an European researcher in computer science, and I will be joining the IBM Research Center in Hawthorne (Skyline Drive) in a few months from now. I am planning with consistent advance my living there, so I am looking for extremely specific information. I already made extensive searches on the web (so I know about your blog), about housing and commuting, and I think this is a good time to seek for your advice. I would be extremely thankful to you if you could provide me with your opinion and assistance.

I will live in Manhattan, and I will be daily using Metro-North line(s) to get forth and back to Hawthorne, since train seems to me the quickest and most comfortable way. Yes, I know this is reverse commuting, and all the related issues about. Also, I am following the evolution of parking situations at Westchester Metro-North stations. I am also aware of BeeLine busses schedules.

In general, to achieve maximum flexibility, my general plan is to get a cheap used car, and to keep it at a convevenient Metro-North station. In this way, I could easily achieve commuting times from GCT to my office in between 45-60 minutes, which is very good. This would be my best option. If you have any observation on this, it is extremely welcome. In general, I prefer saving commuting time more than money.

However, my specific question to you is the following: where could I keep my car in Westchester? In order to best exploit express Metro-North trains, I selected as my best choices the three stations (in the order) of

a) North White Plains,
b) White Plains,
c) Tarrytown.

I know the last is on a different line. Now, there are two issues to be considered:

1) General parking problems at these stations (I won’t be resident) for regular commuters
2) The fact that I would be a reverse-commuter. Hence, I should park from 6-7pm to 8-9am

While something could be arranged for reverse commuters by cities and MTA, probably the actual numbers still don’t call for reverse commuting solutions. So, I suppose I will suffer the same problems in 1) getting those in 2) in addition.

However, the question is: where to leave the car?

I could propose several solutions, in the order from best to worse:

A) Getting a parking permit in one of the stations a,b,c (good train service).
B) Getting a parking permit in a very “easy” station (worse train service).
C) Parking everyday on a metered parking spot, for example in White Plains. It could be more expensive but very easy to find because of my arrival/departure times with my car.

What do you think about these solutions? Could you tell me what is the current situation for A?
Concerning B, what stations would you recommend? Concerning C, do you know how meters exactly work? For example, I would like to be flexible enough as not being fined if I have to skip a working day, e.g. in case of illness. Also, in case of A, is it allowed/safe to leave a car in a,b,c overnight?

As a last solution, which could turn as a very useful temporary one, could be just take a taxi twice a day. This would be rather expensive, but I must compare it against buying a car and paying for its insurance and parking. So, sharp maths is critical here. In this case, what are the closest stations to Hawthorne where there are always available taxis? I suppose White Plains could be one of them. Do you know how much could be a taxi from White Plains station to Skyline Drive, Hawthorne?

I know I wrote an outrageous number of questions. I took the time for that because I believe you are the right person who could be pleased to offer some help on this very specific matter.

I sincerely look forward to get whatever kind of feedback from you. Please ask me for whatever further piece of information which could turn useful for that

Thanks you very much for your kind attention.


This entry was posted in Hawthorne, Reverse Commute. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Can Someone Please Help This Man?

  1. Alex Engel says:

    (914) 422-1232 is the number in White Plains to call for parking information and permits. They’re trained to figure out which parking permit is best, and since you would be a reverse commuter, they can accomodate you on a lot meant for regular commuters.

    The website for some of the types of permits available is:

    Parking locations:

    Note that White Plains actually has a population 5X the size during the day than it has at night, as it is like Manhattan (a job center more than a residential center), but even more so so penalties for not moving your car during the day might be severe. (A quick glance indicates only $15 but that might escalate).

    Hartsdale station is fairly close; you might want to look at that. Also, as much as I hate promoting the idea… driving from Manhattan (depending where you live) isn’t as difficult as it seems. I know people that do so from the Upper West Side to Westchester daily.

  2. Harry says:

    How about looking for a ride with someone who works at WEstchester Medical Center?

  3. L. Hernandez says:

    North White Plains has a few lots — the LAZ lot is wait-listed, so while you can use the meters, you can’t get a permit until room opens up on the list. It’s $6.50/day at the meters. The city of White Plains runs another lot (another commenter has listed the phone number to call). The town of North Castle runs another (you must walk quite a bit to get to the train but call 914-273-2231) and finally Westchester County Dept. of Parks runs two lots

    I almost never took the chance, but at my station on the Hudson line, I felt that a reverse commuter who was sure of getting out early in the morning could get away with parking for free.

    Many stations allow you to park there for free on the weekends, but if your schedule is such that the car would be in the lot on Monday morning because you haven’t yet started working, you would definitely get a ticket.

  4. Enric says:

    When will you start your visit to Watson Hawthorne? I am also a European researcher and my visit starts in December.

  5. JS says:

    I dont know if it works the same, but in Pleasantville, the parking is free from 6pm to 8am, I can’t speak for the other towns down the linee, but if those are the hours you need to park there, It may be worth checking out.

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