Hempstead Town residents who commute from five South Shore Long Island Rail Road stations will find more than 4,000 additional parking spaces just for them under a program expected to start in April.
However, thousands of commuters from other towns will be displaced in the process.
“Hempstead Town residents deserve to get top priority when visiting town-controlled parking lots at area train stations,” Hempstead Supervisor Anthony J. Santino said at a news conference Thursday morning at the Bellmore station.
Santino said he and Councilman Gary Hudes are proposing a plan that would increase by 165 percent the number of parking spaces available only to Hempstead town residents.
That represents a total of 4,009 parking spaces — at the Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick and Baldwin stations — that will go from being open to anybody to being open only to town residents.
Asked what out-of-towners being displaced “are supposed to do?” Santino said: “They should talk to their town officials. Town residents here are my first concern.”
Town residents’ reserved parking spaces will rise from 2,240 to 6,249. At Bellmore, for example, the Hempstead residents’ reserved spots would go from 227 to 1,310.
Santino said he expected the proposal to come before the town board at its next meeting on Tuesday.
In attendance was Bill Cook, 52, a computer consultant commuter who rides his bike to the station. Cook, of Bellmore, said one of the reasons he rides his bike is the difficulty of finding a parking space. He won a lottery for bike space at the station.
“No worker should have to start off the day frustrated because of the lack of a parking spot,” he said.
Also in attendance at the news conference was Hudes, who is credited with helping put together the proposal, and Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad, whose office will dispense the residency permits.
Such permits, which now cost $3 annually, will cost $10 as of April 1. “A very small fee compared to many other towns and villages,” said town spokesman Michael Deery.
Residents must bring their car registration as proof of residency when purchasing permits. Purchases can be made by cash or check.
The permit does not guarantee a parking space but ensures that parking in reserved stalls is legal. Those parking in reserved stalls without the permit are subject to a $135 fine.
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