An Amityville Village plan to entice commuters from outside the village to its Long Island Rail Road station by slashing nonresident parking permit fees appears to be working.
The village issued 113 annual permits in 2015 after cutting the cost from $250 to $150, undercutting neighboring municipalities. In 2014, with the higher fee, the village issued just 49 nonresident permits; in 2013, 65.
Amityville, looking to re-energize its downtown business district, made the move even as some other Long Island municipalities considered restricting nonresident spots. Glen Cove banned nonresident parking at two stations starting Jan. 1 and Babylon Town cut most of the nonresident permit spots at its Wyandanch station last year, though nonresidents can use a garage near the station for a fee.
How much of the increase in nonresident permits at Amityville is directly tied to the price cut is unclear. The number of resident permits, whose price was unchanged at $30, also rose, hitting 590 in 2015, up from 536 in 2014 and 483 in 2013.
Dozens of parking spaces at the Amityville lots are still free most days. But Amityville Trustee Dennis Siry said the price cut is working and that officials may consider even deeper cuts in the future, as long as they do not result in village residents being crowded out of the lots.
“It was a success,” said Siry, who added that he hoped any increase in ridership would encourage better maintenance at the station, whose platform-level waiting room is defaced by graffiti and sometimes smells of urine.
The LIRR is responsible for station maintenance, and the waiting room was cleaned Friday after a Newsday reporter asked an LIRR spokesman about its condition.
“Our job is to ensure every station is clean, no matter the size of the station or ridership,” LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena wrote in an email Friday.
The LIRR is installing a new station escalator as well as new lighting, security and communication systems at the station, Arena added, part of a $14 million upgrade underway at several Babylon branch stations. The Amityville work should be finished in March, Arena said.
There are 552 parking spaces at or near the LIRR station, which serves 2,620 passengers riding east and west on an average weekday.
Village officials hope to turn many of those passengers into customers for the downtown shops and restaurants, most of which are a five-minute walk from the station.
The most direct route is a walk under the elevated train tracks on land owned by the railroad, and Arena said the LIRR would be open to talks with the village about improvements.