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Oyster Bay, MTA at odds over resident-only spots at garages for LIRR commuters 

The MTA and Oyster Bay Town have been

The MTA and Oyster Bay Town have been in talks for years about the construction of new multistory parking facilities for LIRR commuters, one of which is proposed at this lot near West John and West Barclay streets.   Credit: Google Maps

Oyster Bay officials want the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to replace any town resident-only parking spaces that would be displaced by new parking garages at the Hicksville train station.

The MTA and the town have been in talks for years about the construction of new multistory parking facilities that would create more than 1,000 parking spaces on town-owned properties, currently used as surface parking lots, that require motorists to have a town-issued permit. 

“There will be no net loss of resident-only spots,” Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said Tuesday.

An MTA spokeswoman said in an email last year that the agency’s policy is “not to restrict customers from parking based on residency.”

“If we build a parking facility using state or federal funds, parking must be open to the general public,” Meredith Daniels wrote at the time.

On Wednesday, Daniels said discussions are ongoing.

“We continue to work on ways to improve access to stations including Hicksville and have been in discussions with the town to explore opportunities, but this is a dialogue that continues with no official plans at this point in time,” she wrote in an email.

Town spokesman Brian Nevin said Tuesday that the town does not "want to take a step back on resident-only parking.”

“The only expectation we’ve always had is if you’re going to build on, let’s say, 100 current resident spots, then we still have those 100 for residents,” Nevin said.

Sen. James Gaughran (D-Huntington) said Wednesday that a compromise on the resident-only parking could be worked out. 

“The MTA needs to figure out how they can accommodate local communities to make their stations as accessible as possible, and sometimes it has to be done with some set-asides,” Gaughran said.

The proposal for new parking facilities to serve the Hicksville station has undergone changes since an environmental impact statement for the MTA's Third Track project — to build an additional LIRR track on the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville — was finalized in 2017. The original plan envisioned the MTA building two parking garages on a pair of existing town surface lots on West Barclay Street that would have provided a total of 1,283 parking spaces. 

That approach was changed under a 2018 state-funded plan to revitalize downtown Hicksville. The newer proposal envisioned four parking garages on West Barclay Street to provide a total of 2,156 spaces, with one or two of the garages being built by the MTA. The new garages would eliminate 884 existing spots, according to the proposal. Under that plan, which would also add commercial and residential development to the street, funding for the garages would come from the MTA, town and private developers.

Saladino on Tuesday called on the state to pay for the garages to alleviate the parking shortage around the station.

“The real long-term answer is for the state to step up with their promise and build the parking garages as they had suggested,” Saladino said.

Two other MTA parking garages in the Third Track plan — in Mineola and Westbury — are expected to be completed this year, according to MTA spokeswoman Daniels.