Huntington's valet parking program deemed success, so far


Workers park cars during the town of Huntington's pilot program to provide free valet parking on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., in Huntington on June 20, 2014. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

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Huntington Town's pilot valet parking program is being well-received so far, officials said.

The free program started in June in a portion of the municipal parking lot between New and Green streets, south of Main Street. The valet program is in effect from 9 a.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday and again from 9 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday.

During the weekend of June 20 -- the program's first -- town officials said about 200 cars were parked and 400 the weekend after. There was a dip in the numbers the weekend of July 4, which town officials attributed to the holiday and inclement weather. On each of the weekends of July 19 and July 26, 600 motorists used the service.

"We're very pleased with the way the program is going," town Supervisor Frank Petrone said. "People are becoming aware of the service and are utilizing it."

The program, run by LAZ Parking New York-New Jersey, is the latest in a series of measures aimed at improving parking in busy downtown Huntington. The $50,000 cost is funded by a consortium Petrone formed in 2012 to study the area's parking options. The consortium includes the Town of Huntington Economic Development Corp., the Huntington Village Business Improvement District, and the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce.

The program will be in place until the end of September and then the town will evaluate its popularity.

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Additionally, after some initial outcry from merchants who said they were not given sufficient notice of work beginning July 16, the $1.5 million renovation of the Gerard Street parking lot continues ahead of schedule.

Town officials said the renovation is to be completed in early December. They also said the removal of some trees in the lot was always to be part of the project. The town will be planting 114 trees and 3,228 bushes as part of the landscaping.

Town spokesman A.J. Carter said the town continues to work with the merchants whose businesses front the parking lot.

"At their request, we moved one of the fences to allow temporary access to an area," he said. "We have installed some new security lighting."

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