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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.

paul February 27, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Welcome to Queens.
Bebe February 27, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Thank you Paul. You nailed it.
Frankie M February 28, 2013 at 01:45 AM
if the town wants to claim its the restaurant capital of Long Island it needs to start listening to the restaurants who are here. The taxes that come back to the village from these restaurants and retail stores (sales and property tax)is a lot of money that keeps the residents taxes down. It's no longer a sleepy little town and if you want the restaurants and retail to be successful parking needs to be addressed. How about limiting the number of parking approvals. The cup is full and you can't just keep approving parking. It's starting to run over and its hurting the businesses. An off main lot would limit congestion and decrease traffic. With 8-9 restaurants slated to come into town with and average of 50 spots needed per thats 450 more parking spots. Where are they getting these spots from. Haven't added a single spot in years. Actually lost spots when they did the lot behind Dunkin Donuts.
Christina February 28, 2013 at 01:17 PM
NO PARKING GARAGE! When people buy tickets to the Paramount for events, include a description of where to park. You can't tell me that people only park on Main St and NY Ave? If they don't understand that you have to look for parking, then don't come. People need to understand that you can't park in front of the restaurant or business that you are going to, and it won't hurt to walk a block or two. Isn't that what Huntington Village wants? People to walk around the village? But, I know that this Town board will approve it anyway, because NOT ONE person on the Town Board LIVES IN HUNTINGTON VILLAGE! They don't care. We need representation on the Town Board from someone that actually lives here!
paul February 28, 2013 at 01:35 PM
There is no serious parking problem in Huntington. That is a myth. We have the Long Island festival and the St Patrick's Day parade and its tight but it works. One of the great things about Huntington is (was?) its ambiance. A parking garage in the middle of town would be another blow. Now throw in the cost of building and the security needed to keep it safe. Lastly. We should not be encouraging more cars because the traffic gets really bad. Maybe we have enough restaurants? Parking garage is a bad idea. So it will probably happen.
aldo February 28, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Christina based on the current situation we NEED A PARKING GARAGE! I own a shop in town. It's not just the paramount its all the parking. The board just hands out approvals to use the lots when they are already fully maxed out. We need more parking period. This is Long Island a culture based on convenience. You can not and will not change people by saying don't come if you think your supposed to park near the shop or restaurant your going to. As stated there are only so many spots. It's not an infinite number There needs to be a cap put on new approvals to use the parking lots. Do you know how many customers of mine say they couldnt find parking or it took 30 min to find parking. It hurts my business. I have rent, taxes and bills to pay. I need repeat business. If my customers don't come back I will go out of business.
JSC February 28, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Once again I'm going to have to open young people's eyes to the fact that there are other people who want to go to the village besides them! Seniors and handicapped people live here too and choose to stay in Huntington because perhaps it's where they've always lived, or because of the cultural programs that they love or because of the closeness of the shopping to where they live or because their family is here. Don't they have a right to be able to find parking at least relatively close to their destination? Are they to be made to walk blocks because a few don't want a parking garage in the village for esthetic reasons? What is needed are MORE handicapped parking spots. Stop approving businesses without the necessary "new" parking spots. Think of ALL the types of people who want to come to the village and not just Paramount attendees. Frankly, town hall could use a parking garage itself. Everyday people are made to park all up and down Jackson Ave and in the YMCA parking lot. But that's another story. I have lived here for over 55 years! I've seen the village change quite a bit over those years. But the one thing that we've always needed was more parking for the added businesses and the added population. A nicely designed, well-hidden parking garage would be a good addition to our town and is greatly needed.
Big_E February 28, 2013 at 02:42 PM
People in NYC think nothing of walking 5 or 10 blocks to their destination. But here, if we have to park one street away from a restaurant or book store it's a national emergency and we need to spend millions on a garage. I go into town all the time, and even have dinner when there is a show at the Paramount. I have NEVER turned back because lack of parking. YES, I have had to park in a lot a few blocks from where I am going. No big deal...
John February 28, 2013 at 02:51 PM
not all all senior or old people needs to be using handicapped parking spots.those spots r being miss use
Frankie M February 28, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Big E I agree with your comment about the city. I actually lived there. I walked everywhere because for one I had to I didn't have a car and two public transportation was expensive. Needed to pay rent. What most people are forgetting is the area where most are talking about has very little residential so population density is nothing like NYC. A business can be kept busy and in business by the surrounding blocks because of sheer density of population in NYC. People who frequent our town are driving here from surrounding areas. If its for dinner or any other reason they want convenience and don't want to walk. Please just ask the town to stop approving /issuing parking until a solution is found. Can't continue to hand out spots if no new spots are being created. It's that simple. Add up businesses the number of employees who drive and the amount of spots they are issued. Number easily surpasses number of spots in town.
Marie March 01, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Who are they kidding? This is most certainly about the Paramount! We've always managed to find parking in the past, even walking several blocks to get where we were going. How ugly can they make the town that always looked like a charming place to come, with swank shops, fine restaurants and nice streets to walk. Please don't make this terrible mistake!
Frankie M March 01, 2013 at 03:52 AM
So what's your solution? In my opinion its a parking garage. If you want to have nice restaurants and shops customers need to be able to park. It's that plain and simple. Rent and property taxes on village businesses isn't cheap. Landlords want that check at the end of the month. For businesses to succeed they need customers if there is no parking or convenience bye bye customer. Hello empty store fronts. It will become a vicious cycle of places opening and closing. Let's stop approving parking for a year until a solution is found. Any politicians read the patch?
Christina March 01, 2013 at 12:46 PM
On many occasions I have seen employees of various stores, park directly in front of their store or nearby and feed the meter all day. That also takes away customers, don't you think? Employers should want those spots for customers not for employees. The employers should enforce this common sense rule. When I worked in the village decades ago, I was asked to park in the municipal lots for the day and I did! A parking garage is NOT the answer. I agree with above, that people still come for the St. Patricks Day parade and many find parking!
JSC March 01, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Of course not all seniors use handicapped spots, I wasn't saying that. But many would like to attend events in town, go shopping, eat at restaurants etc and can't find parking close by - do you have arthritis? Any knee replacements? Foot problems? Want to walk three blocks with that? No I doubt it. Why should they be excluded? Sure the town is full of people for St. Patrick's Day parade - how many don't find parking and thus don't bother to get in town. If you live close enough you might be able to walk in, if your kid is marching you park your car near the end of the parade route in the morning to get a spot - everyone else is forced to park 1/2 mile away or more in the neighborhoods - fine if you can do it. A lot of people have just given up attending events in the village - they stay away when the crowds come in. They shop elsewhere, eat elsewhere during the Fall Festival for example. And don't get me started on having to try to avoid all the closed streets when there are "runs" going through town. My neighborhood was closed in during one of the last big runs - the cops wouldn't let us in or out even though there was no one running on the street! But that's another issue. Parking garages don't have to be ugly or detract from the great village we have. One could be built into the hillside of Elm St and with good landscaping could be well-hidden. Ugly is when our historic buildings are demolished!
Linda Otta March 01, 2013 at 02:50 PM
It is quite telling that they brought in a parking expert from MANHATTAN to help with our VILLAGE parking problem created by the Paramount. Might as well start calling us the little Apple.
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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