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Parking Garage Still on Table for Village

Huntington Chamber hears findings from transportation consultants.

A parking garage is still on the table for Huntington Village, according to Town representatives.

The news comes off Tuesday's Huntington Chamber of Commerce meeting where Manhattan transportation consultants Nelson-Nygaard updated members on a parking study meant to alleviate parking woes and congestion in downtown Huntington.

"The consultant is pretty certain that he's going to be able to give us some recommendations of how we can make some changes to modify parking behaviors in the short term and advise us if a structure would be called for," said Town of Huntington Community Development Director Joan Cergol.

"At this point, he's told us that there are situations where municipalities can spend a lot of money on a structure and during the week it will be empty. We don't want to see that happen and we want to see what we can do in the here and now to help, and then plan for the structure."

The idea of a parking garage on either the New Street lot or the Elm Street lot has been floated since parking congestion seemed to reach a critical mass around the time of the Paramount Theater's debut on New York Avenue.

The Paramount joined with four other agencies--The Town of Huntington, the Huntington Chamber of Commerce, the Huntington Business Development District, and the Huntington Economic Development Corporation--to commission the study last summer for a cost of $39,530.

Nelson-Nygaard began studying existing parking conditions and usage patterns in the fall and created a public survey on parking conditions. The electronic survey was posted on the Town and Chamber websites since January and will be open through March.

There are over 2,200 public parking spaces in the village, according to Nelson-Nygaard's findings, comprised of 42 percent on-street and 58 percent off-street spaces, 40 percent of which are metered and time-limited mostly by two hours. There are nine parking lots with free, unlimited parking. A PDF with the full findings and maps is attached to this article.

Nelson Nygaard also conducted focus groups of 8-12 business owners, local experts such as traffic engineers and architects, and residents.

The key issues identified by stakeholders were: Sufficiency of current supply, and options for expansion; Impact of the Paramount Theater on nearby businesses and residents; Awareness of off-street options; Long-term use of on-street spaces; Enforcement; Availability among most convenient options; and Plan for growth.

Cergol said she considered Tuesday's presentation at the Chamber meeting productive both in terms of current methods of allaying parking woes and for considering future plans. One of the easiest ways of reducing "search congestion," cars circling the block for a parking space, would be to post more signage pointing out parking lots around the village.

"If you're a new person coming into the area and you really don't know where our parking lots are, you're just going to look on the main thoroughfare to park and we need to make it more clear where the lots are," said Cergol. "There is minimal or no incentive to park outside the main way."

Nelson-Nygaard will complete an additional round of field studies in March. Draft recommendations will be presented to the steering committee by the end of April. A full PDF of their Tuesday presentation is attached to this article.

Frankie M March 01, 2013 at 05:35 PM
I am in town as I write this. No spots in Dunkin Donuts lot, no spots Gerard St, no spots on main from Rosas Pizza to the loft on New York Ave, New York Ave a mess from Main St to the New TD bank. This all while I was driving to find a spot in the Gerard St lot.
C.M.G-R March 01, 2013 at 06:48 PM
The lot on Gerard is doomed once that new Panera is open for business. Try the lot next to the Post Office on the other side of Gerard if you're able-bodied--it is never full. As much as I agree with others that a garage is going to end up unsightly and probably somewhat empty during the week (Glen Cove has a giant garage that is never, ever full), the Gerard Street lot and the lot between New and Green Streets south of Main are becoming packed at all hours. Many people use the Walbaum's lot on Wall Street as a de facto municiple lot, too...
JSC March 01, 2013 at 10:25 PM
This brings up another problem - and the woman who was just killed crossing 25A in CSH proves it. We are all in danger of being killed when trying to cross many of the roads in town. People are in a rush, speeding to get through town. They don't always stop at the crosswalks, they speed up to get through the yellow lights. That being said, pedestrians have to follow the law also. Too many times I see them running across Main or NY Ave when clearly the red hand is lit on the box, thus not allowing cars to make the right on red or the left turn with the green arrow. We all have to slow down and be cognizant of other cars and people for heaven's sake! Now, with more stores opening up with no more parking, we will have more people having to cross busy streets to get to their destination from a far-away parking lot or space. I'm all for making our one-way streets into two-way streets - that just might loosen up the flow of traffic on Main and NY Ave by taking some of the cars off earlier as they could now go up a former one-way street. Add more lights or stop signs on them if necessary, but I think it's a good idea.
jts March 24, 2013 at 12:40 PM
I really think the parking problem here is overstated. I am a resident and other than the large festivals and parades, always find a parking spot within a block of where I want to go. Sure, the Paramount added to the downtown congestion. They want a garage for their customers. I have been to several shows there and may have to walk an extra block after parking. Big deal! Look at the other towns that have downtown parking garages on Long Island. They are unsightly and if they have them, are primarily to service LIRR commuters. Great Neck and Glen Cove are two towns with examples of large ugly garages that dominate the landscape. Do we want our town to look like Flushing or Forest Hills? I think not.
S. Hawthorne March 27, 2013 at 03:33 PM
How many employees are there in downtown Huntington each day who park in the lots all day--- 400 to 700? Those spaces do not turnover, thereby denying an opportunity for customers to find a convenient parking spot. Metering the lots promotes turnover. Free parking should only be provided at the outer limits of the downtown, and that is where employees should park if they are going to be there all day/night. Port Jefferson installed parking meters about five years ago and although on very busy days and nights it is still difficult to find a spot, there is considerably more turnover of spaces than before the meters were installed. In addition the money collected from the meters is for the exclusive use of improving parking.

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