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Wyandanch LIRR parking lots to remain open as spaces dry up

The Wyandanch Long Island Rail Road station, at

The Wyandanch Long Island Rail Road station, at Straight Path and Long Island Avenue, off Acorn Street, is seen on Jan. 26, 2012. Credit: J.C. Cherubini

Two Wyandanch Long Island Rail Road parking lots that had been slated to close next Tuesday will stay open for Babylon Town residents exclusively, Supervisor Rich Schaffer said.

Speaking at a Deer Park Community Association meeting, Schaffer said Tuesday night the move would make available a total of 878 spots for residents with town permits, more than the approximately 600 announced earlier this summer.

Rail commuters from both inside and outside the town have followed the math closely -- and pleaded their cases to town officials -- as parking changes prompted by the redevelopment of downtown Wyandanch have upset commutes honed over decades.

Parking that was once free and open to all was cut back over the summer, but the overall number of spots increased after the LIRR opened a 920-spot garage.

That garage will start charging a $70 monthly or $5 daily fee in September.

Town and rail officials said they expect commuters from communities such as Dix Hills and Melville, which are convenient to Wyandanch but not part of Babylon Town, will take most of those spots.

The two lots that now will remain open are north of the train tracks near Straight Path.

Still uncertain is the fate of 127 spots on Merritt Avenue. Both the town and LIRR claim ownership of a lot there.

A railroad spokesman earlier this month issued a statement predicting the two sides would cooperate to find a solution, but Schaffer, speaking to a hometown crowd, was less diplomatic.

"I expect when I win the fight to have an additional 127 spots," he said.

Demand from out-of-town residents is apparently great enough that town officials fear the creation of a black market with unscrupulous residents selling permits.

That, Schaffer said, would be a very bad idea. "If you do that, you are going to be charged with filing a false instrument," a felony, he said. "I'm dead serious. If anyone wants to fool around with it, you will end up in serious trouble."

Only 489 town residents have applied for parking permits, which are free and valid for a year.


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