Islip Town is drawing up plans to expand its parking meter program from Bay Shore into Islip hamlet and other Long Island Rail Road station parking lots along the South Shore.
Peter Kletchka, Islip Town’s public works project supervisor, said the town has met with the Islip Chamber of Commerce regarding its downtown area and is in talks with the LIRR to install meters at the Islip, Great River, Oakdale and Sayville train station parking lots.
The town and the LIRR operate under an agreement to share maintenance of the lots and the meter plans will need LIRR approval, Kletchka said.
Town officials have said the parking meter program was designed to create revenue to help with the maintenance of the town-owned parking lots, which had been providing free parking for years.
In February 2014, the town board awarded a $750,000 contract to Florida-based Cale America Inc. to purchase meter machines and phase them in across Bay Shore starting at the Maple Avenue docks in summer 2015, the LIRR station in January 2016, the town marina in June and on Main Street in November.
For the final phase in Bay Shore, machines have been installed in some municipal lots behind businesses on Main Street this month, but Kletchka says that the date to turn them on has been pushed back as the town continues to hammer out “the finer details” with local business owners.
Doris Kennedy, president of the Islip Chamber of Commerce, which represents Islip hamlet, said chamber members “need to be diligent in working with the town to make this program supportive to our businesses as well as residents.”
She added, “Traffic, specifically the ability to find parking in town for consumers to frequent our businesses, is an increasing problem. If we don’t address it in some form, our small businesses that are the backbone of our community will continue to suffer. However, we also don’t want it to hurt our consumers.”
Last month, the Islip Town Board awarded Level G Associates LLC, of Old Bethpage, owned by Gerard Giosa, a one-year contract worth $50,000, with two additional one-year extensions, to develop and implement parking strategies for other town roads and parking lots. Giosa has been working with the town since 2013 and helped establish its Bay Shore program.
Giosa, who said he’s been in the parking consulting business for 30 years and has been involved in similar projects in Patchogue, Great Neck Plaza and Rockville Centre, said he is conducting a study of how to improve parking functions in those areas.
The Bay Shore program was initially met with opposition by some local business owners and residents, and prompted a petition drive to stop them. Kletchka promoted the meters as a way to attract more business as well as future investment.
“It’s something the town feels an obligation to address, to manage the assets in these communities as they grow,” he said.