Town of Huntington officials are tinkering with its downtown parking plan again.
Town board members are considering broadening the use of multispace parking meters almost two years after implementing a sweeping parking plan that included installing the meters that accept payment for more than one parking spot.
The multispace meters along New York Avenue and Main Street, considered a primary zone, currently cost 25 cents for 15 minutes if paid in cash. Paying with a credit card costs one dollar for any part of an hour.
The minimum purchase at spaces covered by traditional meters along downtown side roads such as Wall, Carver, Green and New streets, is 25 cents for 30 minutes.
Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said after hearing from merchants on some of the side streets, the board decided to consider replacing the traditional meters with multispace meters on Wall Street between Main and Gerard streets.
“We always wanted to see how it worked and make changes in phases,” Petrone said. “It seems turnover is working in prime spots with the multispace meters so now we want to expand them to Wall Street,” Petrone said.
Traditional parking meters would remain on the other side streets.
A March 8 public hearing has been set on the proposal.
Jack Palladino, president of the Huntington Village Business Improvement District, said merchants in his group did see higher turnaround in parking spaces with the use of multispace meters on New York Avenue and Main Street.
“It will help,” said Palladino, owner of Christopher’s Courtyard Cafe on Wall Street. “Unfortunately right now people are parking and feeding meters on the side streets, so the increased costs of the multispace meters will keep that from happening all day.”
Downtown Huntington has long suffered from a shortage of parking, which Petrone credits to the success of the thriving business district.
“When you have a sleepy little town or village, activity is minimal,” Petrone said. “This town has a lot of activity and that speaks highly of the town and the people that frequent it.”
Town officials are currently accepting proposals from private partners willing to build, own and operate a parking garage in downtown Huntington.
“The town is trying all different things,” Palladino said. “But it’s really going to take a structure. We need more spaces.”
Also scheduled for March 8 is a public hearing to change the fines for metered parking violations in the town.
Right now the fee structure is a warning for the first offense, $25 for the second offense and $50 for the third. Town officials now want to set the fine at $25 for all offenses.
“It’s been well over a year with a grace period and the feeling is well, now people know the meters are there, they know the system so we can go to a flat fine system,” Petrone said.
The public hearings will start at 2 p.m. March 8, at Town Hall, 100 Main St.