Old Saybrook - Beginning Wednesday, travelers looking to park in Saybrook Junction will have to pay $5 a day.
When passengers return to their cars they can expect to find yellow envelopes on their windshields, complete with instructions to mail in the $5 payment.
David Adams, the owner of the private parking lot, said Sunday that the move to start charging those who park in the lot will be much more effective than the previous system.
"We had an attendant there taking care of things and it wasn't working out that well. There was a lot of confusion with the (Shore Line East) travelers," Adams said.
There are 42 parking spaces designated for Shore Line East travelers that are painted with yellow lines and there is also a designated section for Amtrak passengers. Those parking spaces are free. Parking is also free in other spaces for customers and employees of the businesses in the junction parking lot which has spaces for 330 vehicles.
Train passengers who can not find a spot among the 42 will now have to pay for parking.
Passengers riding Amtrak's Shore Line East train to New Haven often park in the Saybrook Junction lot but Adams said that frequently there are too many cars for the parking spaces Amtrak leases and has designated for those passengers.
Old Saybrook is a popular station for passengers of Shore Line East, which runs to New Haven. Eastbound service ends in Old Saybrook with the exception of some service to New London.
Demand for parking has increased with elevated Shore Line East ridership and over the years, the town has added overflow parking on North Main Street for when the existing Shore Line East spots at Saybrook Junction fill up.
"Up until November, no one paid anything because no one realized it was privately owned, they all used it like it was a public lot," Adams said. "We have no problem charging the Shore Line East travelers, we just can't have them filling up the parking lot to the detriment of the tenants in the office."
The remaining parking spaces in the Saybrook Junction lot are for the 16 tenants in the office building on the lot.
Those who park in the lot have 14 days to return their payment in the yellow envelope. There is a $10 fee for envelopes not returned within 14 days.
Adams said a parking attendant will write down the license plate of the car and also put it on the payment envelope so when the payment comes in, they will be able to mark it as paid.
Last December, the state Department of Transportation had proposed adding more than 800 parking spaces for Shore Line East passengers next to the Old Saybrook train station but that plan has since dissolved. Adams said approval has already been given for 200 condos on the property. He said he is in discussions with that owner to see if there will be any extended parking options on that property.
The pre-addressed parking payments are successful in Westport, Darien and Southport, Adams said.
"There's something like a 95 percent compliance rate in the Westport train terminal," he said. "We're not going to charge on the holiday weekends so we'll let the travelers park for free then. In New Haven they charge $15 to park and ride the train, so $5 is pretty reasonable, it's bare bones."