Two Democratic Nassau legislators are calling on County Executive Edward Mangano to renegotiate new parking rates at the renovated Nassau Coliseum after fans attending the inaugural Billy Joel concert this month were charged $40 to park their vehicles.
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) and Legis. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury) contend in an April 18 letter that fans will seek to avoid the fee by finding free street parking across Hempstead Turnpike.
“Event goers will naturally seek free parking across Hempstead Turnpike on neighborhood streets, affecting local homes and business owners,” Abrahams and Bynoe wrote. “This is not only a nuisance for area neighborhoods — the consequences can be deadly.”
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which ranks Hempstead Turnpike as one of Nassau’s most dangerous roads for walking, has said 12 pedestrians were killed crossing the roadway from 2012 through 2014.
Abrahams and Bynoe urged Mangano to negotiate a new parking rate with Coliseum operator Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment that is “fairer to Nassau citizens” and to explore adding shuttle buses to the arena in Uniondale from Long Island Rail Road stations.
In a response letter Wednesday, Mangano said he contacted Brooklyn Sports to “express the frustration of residents” to the parking fees and “urge you to do the same.”
Mangano urged Democrats to meet with him next week to discuss providing capital funding for the projects such as pedestrian bridges around the arena and a bus rapid transit system that will connect the Coliseum to LIRR stations and nearby attractions.
Nassau’s 2013 lease with Brooklyn Sports, which was unanimously approved by the county legislature, mandated that the operator provide at least 2,000 parking spots — roughly a third of the arena’s 5,800 spots — at a price not exceeding $20.
Brooklyn Sports chief executive Brett Yormark said Wednesday the $40 fee was for “special” events such as opening night. The operator, he said, will now offer an additional 1,000 online prepaid $20 passes for those events.
“We believe our parking fees are priced fairly and competitively, with family shows ranging from $5 to $15 and concerts at $30,” Yormark said in a statement.