Huntington is considering adding metered parking to municipal lots in downtown areas that could potentially bring in $1 million, but Town Supervisor Ed Smyth said free parking will still be available.
Smyth's plan would apply to some free municipal lots in downtown Huntington, Cold Spring Harbor and the Village of Northport.
Smyth said his aim is to address overnight parking in central downtown municipal lots that tie up spaces closest to shops and restaurants.
“The unmetered parking currently is often occupied by vehicles that sit there for two or three days at a time legally because there’s no obligation to move them or pay any meter for them,” Smyth said.
He said people who live in nearby residential buildings in the downtown area who use the lots for overnight parking would still have access to free lots on the periphery of the downtown.
Smyth is proposing adding metered parking to the municipal lots at New/Green Street; lower Elm Street; Gerard Street (across from the post office); Clinton Street; East Carver Street; Cold Spring Harbor Village and the Woodbine Marina in Northport Village.
Smyth recently met with members of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce and the Huntington Village Business Improvement District. Representatives of both groups said they need additional information before they can sign off on a plan.
Vita Scaturro, chair of the chamber of commerce, said her organization is talking to its members who are still recovering from economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The position of the chamber is to support business owners,” Scaturro said. “We don’t have enough information to take a position on the plan.”
Dominick Catoggio, president of the Huntington Village Business Improvement District, said he would like other options to be considered before any new plan is implemented.
“What it would be, I don’t know exactly, but the town seems to be open and receptive to new ideas and different ways of getting to the finish line,” he said.
Under the current plan free parking would include non metered street parking.
Free parking would be available at these locations: the lot between Nathan Hale Drive and West Neck Road; Upper Elm Street; the former Chase Bank lot at the corner of Gerard Street and New York Avenue; the one north of the former Chase Bank; and municipal Lot # 50 next to the Elks Club.
Smyth said the plan is subject to change and a public hearing.
Cheryl Lynn Blum, a Huntington Station resident who drives into downtown Huntington regularly, said she spoke to Smyth about her objections to the plan. She said not everyone comes into the downtown area for entertainment. Sometimes it’s to go to the library or to the drugstore to get necessities.
“To have to pay to go into your own little town really seems absurd,” Blum said.
Smyth said if the plan is implemented as proposed, the town would see a $1 million increase in parking fees from the new meters.
Smyth said even if there is no expansion of paid parking spots, the town is changing its metered parking system application vendor in mid-January.
PROPOSED METERED PARKING AREAS
At New/Green Street Lot
The lower Elm Street Lot
The Gerard Street Lot (across from the post office)
The Clinton Street Lot
The East Carver Street Lot
The Cold Spring Harbor Village Lot
The Woodbine Marina Lot in Northport Village
Source: Town of Huntington