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Bay Shore Marina’s new parking meters draw criticism

Nikki Thompson, left, and Mary Louise Cohen oppose

Nikki Thompson, left, and Mary Louise Cohen oppose newly installed parking meters that were added at the Bay Shore Marina. July 12, 2016 Credit: Raychel Brightman

New parking meters at the Bay Shore Marina have riled some residents who say the cost takes away an affordable recreational option for many locals.

At a recent Islip Town Board meeting, three Bay Shore residents asked town officials to reconsider the newly adopted parking rules and fee schedule that went into effect June 13.

Before the meters were installed, daily entrance fees at the marina for Islip Town residents without a recreation card were $5, and $10 for nonresidents. With the meters, fees at the marina range from 50 cents an hour on weekdays to $1 per hour on weekends and holidays. A “value lot” for extended parking as long as 10 days is available for 25 cents an hour.

Among the residents’ complaints was a regulation that would limit the use of town recreation cards in place of feeding the new meters.

Starting in 2017, those with these cards — which cost $30, are valid for two years and permit access to a number of town facilities — will have to pay the parking meter fees. Before meters were installed in June, recreation card holders could enter the marina and park for free.

“I know it’s not a lot of money, but there are a lot of people in Bay Shore and I’m sure throughout the Town of Islip that look to the marina,” said Mary Louise Cohen, president of the civic Bay Shore-Brightwaters Summit Council. “When they don’t have a lot of funds at their disposal, they really look forward to using their rec card . . . and park there throughout the year and especially in the summertime.”

Islip Town Councilman John C. Cochrane Jr., who has supported the parking meter program throughout Bay Shore, said in a phone interview after the town board meeting that he will consider the concerns about the marina meters after summer is over.

“We’re taking baby steps,” Cochrane said. “When you do a new area, there’s a learning curve.”

An Islip Town spokeswoman said things have been going well at the marina and that the meters have been doing what they were designed to do, which was alleviate traffic congestion and free up spaces for those visiting attractions at the bayfront property.

Several meetings were held over the past two years to inform the public about where meters were planned. Meters at the Maple Avenue docks were turned on last summer, and meters at the hamlet’s Long Island Rail Road station went activated in January. Meters are under discussion for the Main Street business district.

Cohen and other residents said they attended several of the meetings, but were unaware the Bay Shore Marina was among the locations and were surprised when the meters were installed.

However, Cochrane said his presentations mentioned the “marina district” inclusive of the marina, Maple Avenue and Ocean Avenue dock spaces.

The parking lot at the Ocean Avenue docks, adjacent to Captain Bill’s restaurant, is next in line to receive parking meter installations, Cochrane said.

Bay Shore resident Nikki Thompson, an opponent of the meter program, called the program “an unfair usage tax.”

“Bay Shore residents will be taxed to utilize the waterfront, taxed to dine at one of the many restaurants along Main Street or Maple Avenue, taxed to visit a lawyer or doctor located on Main Street and, of course, taxed to park at the railroad station,” Thompson told the town board. “My question is: When is it going to end and exactly when is enough, enough?”

Bay Shore parking meter plan

  • Maple Avenue dock: Implemented June 2015
  • LIRR station: Implemented January 2016
  • Bay Shore marina: Implemented June 2016
  • Ocean Avenue dock: Proposed for summer 2017
  • Main Street business district: To be determined

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