Riverhead officials may change parking regulations downtown to free up more parking space for visitors and residents.
The proposed changes are part of recommendations originally made in the town’s Strategic Parking Plan document from 2020. The goals of the plan, posted on Riverhead’s website, are to identify major parking concerns raised by visitors, residents and business owners, predict long-term parking demand and generate short- and long-term solutions to tackle such problems.
The plan identified Griffing Avenue and portions of Main Street as the roadways with the highest demand, both of which have two-hour parking limits.
Dawn Thomas, the town’s Community Development Agency director, told Newsday on Tuesday that the proposed changes would convert parking spaces on all of Main Street stretching from Union Avenue to past Griffing Avenue and up Roanoke Avenue from two-hour parking to one-hour parking as part of the first of a two-phase change downtown.
“We want the parking that is closer to the businesses to be shorter term so we can turn those spaces over more often,” Thomas said. “That way, if you have a short trip to pick something up, you’re not staying there for two hours and having lunch rather than parking in the parking lot and walking a little bit for a longer stay.”
Other changes in the first phase of the parking plan will involve designating 15-minute parking spaces below a new apartment building on East McDermott Avenue and Main Street. About eight of the 15-minute spaces would be created there, Thomas said.
The second phase would include changing downtown parking in certain lots in other areas that are away from Main Street so that two-hour parking could be created closer to Main Street while spaces that have three-hour parking limits are located farther away, Thomas said.
Thomas said the changes would take several months to finalize, and the board will listen to feedback from residents at public hearings discussing the alterations. The first public hearing is expected to be held in October.
Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said the town will issue a news release notifying residents once parking changes are finalized.
“Public engagement is always good, especially when parking is a sensitive subject in Riverhead,” Aguiar said.