An Old Bethpage consulting firm has been hired to suggest strategies for adding hundreds of parking spaces in downtown Patchogue, including an employees-only lot.
Level G Associates will be paid up to $5,000 to prepare a report evaluating the village's chronic parking problems and recommending ways to expand existing lots as well as create new ones, Mayor Paul Pontieri said. He said he expects the firm to complete the study in three to four months.
“We need to come up with another 600 or 700 spaces," Pontieri said. The village has about 2,200 spaces.
The village board voted 6-0 on Monday to hire Level G, which has conducted previous parking surveys for Patchogue.
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the board postponed a vote on imposing a moratorium on new bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Officials have said the moratorium, which has the backing of most businesses and could last up to 18 months, would buy Patchogue officials time to develop new parking.
Patchogue officials are in talks with Suffolk County to build a parking garage behind the Sixth District Court building on West Main Street. The village also plans to build a garage in a village-owned lot behind the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Pontieri said Level G, which specializes in parking issues, could use resources such as online maps to plan new parking areas. Village officials plan to develop a parking area reserved for employees of downtown businesses to free up existing parking for customers.
Level G also has worked for Brookhaven Town and the villages of Port Jefferson, Farmingdale and Mineola, among many others.
“They’ve also done a lot of work around the county, so they have a real sense of Long Island and the issues we’re dealing with,” Pontieri said.
Gerard Giosa, chief executive of Level G, said the company plans to use high-tech devices such as drones and low-tech methods such as meetings to determine the village's parking needs.
He said the firm's work would be hampered by the coronavirus and guidelines requiring businesses to work remotely. He said he would meet with committees established by the village and its chamber of commerce when those rules are lifted.
“We’re kind of in limbo right now until we get started again," Giosa said. "Once we get started again, we’re going to meet with the committee to get some input.”
The village's priority is expanding parking during peak hours on Friday nights and weekends, when bars and restaurants are usually packed. Identifying potential sites for employees-only parking could be challenging, he said.
“In a business environment like Patchogue, where there are so many bars and restaurants, you can probably count on one out of five cars belong to employees,” Giosa said, adding that a workers-only lot is key to solving the problem. “Finding their own areas would definitely help the customers as they’re coming in."