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Study: New garage recommended to ease Mineola’s parking woes

The sign for the Mineola Station Plaza in

The sign for the Mineola Station Plaza in downtown Mineola is shown in this 2012 file photo. Credit: Amy Onorato

On most weekday mornings, Mineola’s downtown parking supply is nearly at full capacity, as more than 1,000 employees, shoppers and commuters descend upon the business district to compete for coveted spots.

A new yearlong study commissioned by the village has recommended a major overhaul to increase the village’s parking supply. As the village has grown, parking pressures have intensified and residents need relief, said Village Mayor Scott Strauss.

“These parking issues have been around for decades. They didn’t just crop up,” Strauss said. “We’ve all seen a need for increased parking, especially in the downtown area.”

This is the first comprehensive villagewide parking study Mineola has commissioned. The report was done by Old-Bethpage-based Level G Associates at a cost of $15,000, said Village Clerk Joe Scalero.

While the report includes dozens of recommendations to alleviate parking demand and congestion villagewide, it focuses largely on the business district — one of the busiest on Long Island. In that area, which includes the LIRR station, Winthrop-University Hospital and downtown businesses, there is “intense” need for parking, the study confirms.

“People who live and work in Mineola have known for years — it is very difficult to find available parking in this area of the village between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays,” the study reads.

Building a new parking garage with at least 425 spaces, adding more metered parking, revising time limits, and increasing fees all could be potential remedies for the business district parking crunch, the report suggests.

The village board is reviewing all of the suggestions, and, Strauss said, constructing a garage is along-term priority.

The proposed site for the new garage is a metered lot at First Street and Third Avenue, currently used by commuters and hospital visitors and staff. The parking field formerly housed a multilevel parking garage that was demolished in 2008 because of age-related deterioration, Scalero said.

Carol Caporale, a longtime employee at Eleanor Rigby’s, a bar adjacent to the lot, said creating a new garage would be “wonderful.”

“People would be able to come here,” Caporale said, adding that the current lot is always packed. “Some people call up and say they couldn’t make it because they couldn’t find parking.”

Addressing parking in the downtown district is “absolutely vital,” said Mineola Chamber of Commerce President Tony Lubrano.

While the idea of raising meter fees wasn’t a move merchants naturally favored, Lubrano said they’d be more amenable if the revenue was dedicated to building a new garage.

Over the next few months, the board will discuss the report with community stakeholders and “come up with a game plan,” Strauss said.

“Parking challenges are a double-edged sword. Sometimes it’s a good thing to have. . . . It means you’ve got a pretty vibrant downtown area,” Strauss said.

Recommendations from the report

  • Replace missing meters on Jericho Turnpike and Willis Avenue
  • Restore meters on Third Street between Willis Avenue and Main Street
  • Add meters on Willis Avenue and Nassau Blvd
  • Construct a 425-space parking garage at First Street and Third Avenue
  • Increase on-street parking fees downtown from 75 cents to $1
  • Create guaranteed commuter parking permits at a higher price than current permits
  • Introduce clearer parking lot location signage
  • Consider an app-based parking payment system
  • Extend metering cutoff time near restaurants from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Begin meter enforcement on Saturdays

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