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Ronkonkoma LIRR lot parking tickets unfair, commuters say

Francesco Regini, of Brooklyn, stands in a parking

Francesco Regini, of Brooklyn, stands in a parking lot near the Ronkonkoma train station where the Town of Brookhaven has been issuing $75 tickets on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

A deteriorated parking lot at the Ronkonkoma train station has caused confusion and frustration among some commuters who have received parking tickets despite the lot’s disrepair and faded parking lines.

Brookhaven Town and Suffolk police have issued tickets to commuters for not parking in designated spaces in the lot at the south side of the intersection of Johnson and Smithtown avenues, according to interviews.

On a recent visit by a reporter, a black SUV was observed parked perpendicular to every other car in the lot with no consequences, while a nearby Jeep had received a ticket for not parking in a designated space in an area where painted lines had faded.

“You can’t even see the yellow lines,” said commuter Francesco Regini of Brooklyn, who parks in the lot when he visits his mother and has received three Brookhaven-issued tickets, each with $75 fines.

Adding to the confusion, the parking lot is on both Town of Brookhaven and MTA property. The Brookhaven side runs west of the Ronkonkoma Avenue overpass that covers one side of the parking lot, and the MTA controls the rest of the lot.

“The Town has addressed the situation and will no longer issue violations in the parking lot west of the overpass,” Brookhaven spokesman Jack Krieger said in an email.

“In response to these complaints, we’re having our foreman go out and assess what capital improvements may be required as far as restriping goes,” Brookhaven Highway Department spokeswoman Kristen D’Andrea said in a phone interview.

Among those who say they were unfairly ticketed was Shawn Pugh of Farmingville, whose Jeep was ticketed in September by Suffolk County police for failure to park in a designated space despite the lack of visible parking space lines.

“There are no marked stalls anywhere,” Pugh said in a phone interview. “If I did something wrong, I wouldn’t contest it. But the way the parking lot is set up, it’s a free-for-all.”

A spokesman for the MTA said the agency has not asked Suffolk police to patrol the lots for parking violations.

“This is the first we are hearing of ticketing there by Suffolk County Police. It is something we have to look into. As for the future, the LIRR is always trying to improve conditions for our customers. Here we are hoping to develop a plan and identify funding to upgrade these lots, but we are just starting that process,” said MTA spokesman Salvatore Arena in an email.

A spokesman for the Suffolk police department said in an email: “The lot belongs to the town and we patrol it like we patrol the rest of the police district. The platforms belong to the MTA, who has primary jurisdiction. We assist them in patrolling the platforms to prevent crime and for counterterrorism.”

Regini said the confusion could be resolved with simple repairs.

“Pave it and put lines here,” he said. “You’re going to get more efficiency and then, if you park outside the lines, you should get a ticket.

“C’mon guys, do something for your constituents,” he added. “Do the right thing.”

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