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Port Washington commuter lot parking fees expected to increase

Daily fees to park in Port Washington's commuter

Daily fees to park in Port Washington's commuter lots would double under a plan to encourage motorists to buy an annual parking pass. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Daily fees to park in Port Washington’s commuter lots double under a plan to encourage motorists to buy an annual $240 parking pass.

Town of North Hempstead officials are proposing to increase daily fees for commuters to $2 from $1. Monthly vouchers would cost $30, up from $20, and street parking would cost 25 cents per half-hour, up from 25 cents per hour.

The town board is expected to enact the fee hikes at its meeting Tuesday night.

“It’s less than a slice of pizza to park all day in the parking lot,” acting Public Safety Commissioner Shawn Brown said.

By increasing the daily and monthly fees, officials hope more residents will instead buy the annual $240 pass. That would save the town time and generate revenue to pay for infrastructure repairs in the Port Washington Parking District, Brown said.

“It’s time-consuming for our staff to do the [daily] transaction, takes time, takes paperwork, and for the yearly pass, motorists will never have to come into the district office,” Brown said.

North Hempstead Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio, a Port Washington resident, said many of the lots that mainly serve Long Island Rail Road commuters are “in disrepair.”

The town board last month approved a $300,000 bond to the parking district. Design plans include new landscaping surrounding the lots’ entrances and exits, De Giorgio said.

But revenue is still needed from the fee hikes, she said. “The goal is to be able to accumulate enough reserves so we don’t have to borrow money to pay for capital projects.”

The price to park in commuter lots varies by town. In Hempstead, parking in most lots costs $10 a year, including in Wantagh, Seaford, Bellmore, Merrick, and parts of Baldwin. In Oyster Bay, resident parking costs $20 for a 2-year permit. In Huntington, commuter parking permits are $75 a year for residents and $150 for nonresidents. At the Huntington Station LIRR lot, daily parking costs $10; at the Northport station, the daily fee is $1.

Demand for parking continues to grow at LIRR stations and is particularly strong along the Port Washington line, the only one to travel directly to Manhattan’s Penn Station without stopping at Jamaica. North Hempstead has adopted a license plate reader technology to enforce its commuter parking laws. A town vehicle will scan license plates to identify unregistered or expired permits. The program is expected to launch in May.

The town, overall, has struggled with projecting its parking ticket fine revenue in recent years, a portion of which goes to the Port Washington Parking District budget. The town expected $800,000 in ticket revenue last year, but only generated about $530,000. In 2014, the town budgeted $600,000 in revenue, but collected about $525,000, officials said.

“It’s difficult to quantify how many tickets we are going to issue each day,” town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said. “Some parking fines were raised in 2015, so revenues were projected at increased levels.”

Changes in parking fees

  • Daily parking voucher: Increases to $2 from $1
  • Monthly voucher: Increases to $30 from $20
  • Annual parking voucher: Remains at $240
  • On-street parking-meter rates: 25 cents for each half-hour, up from 25 cents per hour

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