Huntington to Turn Free Parking Lots into Paid Parking?
By Maureen Daly
A proposal to turn the free parking lots in downtown Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor, into paid and metered parking, is being considered for presentation to the Town Board.
The purpose of the proposal is to raise additional revenue, and would generate an estimated $1 million per year in parking fees and fines. In addition, town officials stated to Newsday that the proposal would help prevent people storing their cars – sometimes for days or weeks - in the downtown lots.
The proposal has been drafted and is currently the subject of consultations between the Town and different downtown business groups, including the Huntington Chamber of Commerce and the Huntington Village Business Improvement District.
One unusual aspect to the proposal is that the metered parking would not have physical meters, but that payment for numbered parking spaces would have to be accessed and paid through a mobile “App” on people’s cellphones. People could only pay by a remote payment through a downloaded cellphone “App.”
Both the Huntington business organizations have expressed opposition to the proposal.
“People are not going to go through the hassle of downloading a Huntington-only App and keeping their credit card data on it. Just to use parking,” stated a local store owner. “That means people are going to get tickets. And when they get tickets they are going to stop coming to downtown Huntington. The parking at Walt Whitman Mall is free. No tickets and no hassle.”
“And exactly how are all our elderly people supposed to ‘download a mobile App’ when they can barely use their phones to make a call or text. Someone hasn’t thought this one through,” she added.
The proposal calls for changing the now free parking, into paid parking, at the parking lots at New Street-Green Street; lower Elm Street; Gerard Street (across from the US Post office); Clinton Street; East Carver Street; Cold Spring Harbor Village; and at the Woodbine Marina in Northport Village.
Officers of both the Huntington Chamber and the Huntington BID expressed their hope that the Town would look to other options, before the Town tries turning the free parking lots into paid parking.
The Town is expected to call a Hearing on the paid parking proposal in the next few months.