The phase-in of the Town of Islip’s parking management program in downtown Bay Shore culminated this month with zoned spots behind Main Street businesses.
The zones are within eight town-owned lots and include 525 numbered stalls in four-hour and 12-hour areas. An additional 62 stalls allow for 72-hour parking during the summer season, said Caroline Smith, an Islip Town spokeswoman. They are in effect daily from 9 a.m. to midnight.
Parking costs 25 cents for 30 minutes for up to four hours; parking in the 12-hour sections costs $2 for up to 12 hours. Yearly parking passes for downtown employees can be purchased for $90. Metered street parking on and adjacent to Main Street is 75 cents an hour.
More than 62 percent of the town-owned parking spots in Bay Shore will remain free, Smith said. Free parking areas do not have numbered stalls.
Kate O’Connell, 24, a co-owner of Bay Shore Bean at the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue, said while she’s had to “listen to a lot of backlash from customers,” the meters have helped clear spaces for patrons to come in and get their coffee fix.
A downside is that her employees have to park farther away from the cafe, which opened in December 2015.
“Bay Shore is a beautiful town, but it has a different vibe at night,” she said. “For the girls who work here at night, I don’t feel comfortable letting them walk to their cars by themselves.”
In February 2014, the town board awarded a $750,000 contract to Florida-based Cale America Inc. to purchase meter machines. The first meters were installed at the Maple Avenue docks in summer 2015; the LIRR station in January 2016; the Bay Shore Marina in June; and on Bay Shore’s Main Street in November.
Plans are in the works to install parking meters at the town-owned Ocean Avenue dock facility within the Bay Shore Marina District, Smith said. Islip Town officials also want to expand the parking program to neighboring Islip hamlet’s downtown area as well as Long Island Rail Road stations in Islip, Great River, Oakdale and Sayville.
Islip Town Councilman John C. Cochrane Jr. guided the program from its early planning days. As residents and business owners voiced their displeasure with having to pay for parking and circulated a petition against the meters, Cochrane Jr. said they were for the betterment of the business district.
Smith said in a statement: “Since the program’s infancy, the Town has been working with the community to ensure that this parking management program maximized the ease of parking in our downtowns, railroad stations and major popular areas, while at the same time eliminating the abuse of those who park beyond the allotted times.”
A pay-by-smartphone app option will be available for use starting this summer, Smith added.
On a recent afternoon, Joan Laidlaw, 79, of Bay Shore, was meeting some friends for lunch at a restaurant on Main Street. An Islip Town public safety officer helped Laidlaw with the meter machine.
“Bay Shore is just coming back,” Laidlaw said. “It was like a ghost town eight years ago. It’s not so much the cost [of the meters], it’s the inconvenience.”
The following town-owned parking lots in Bay Shore are now metered:
- South Park Avenue and Gibson Street
- Maple Avenue and Gibson Street
- Gibson Street between Maple Avenue and Shore Lane
- South side of Mechanicsville Road between Park Avenue and Third Avenue
- A portion of the town lot immediately west of North Park Avenue between Mechanicsville Road and Main Street
Source: Islip Town