Water is leaking into the new Town of Oyster Bay...

Water is leaking into the new Town of Oyster Bay parking garage. Numerous spots have been blocked off with cones. Credit: Howard Schnapp

For nearly three years, commuters had to bear the lack of a parking garage adjacent to the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station. Now they have a new $35-million one -- but it leaks. That's a perfect metaphor for the Town of Oyster Bay's lack of planning and oversight in Hicksville.

Falling concrete and water damage to cars plagued the old garage long before a crack in a beam forced the town to close it in 2008. That subtracted 1,400 spaces from the parking mix at Hicksville, the busiest station in Nassau County. The ensuing scramble for spaces was no fun for commuters or residents.

But the relief last month over the opening of the new garage has turned to exasperation. Beyond the leaks, which are an unpleasant encore of the old structure's woes, there have been problems with a sign designed to tell drivers how many spaces are available on different levels. Too often, the sign has been dark -- just as the town is in the dark as to how to make Hicksville's downtown the thriving place it can and should be.

Oyster Bay should have done a better job of monitoring and managing the decline of the old facility. And it should have adopted a smart plan for Hicksville's future -- including the role and location of the new garage in it.

Now the town has to oversee repair of the building's problems. More than that, and more than ever, it needs a real plan. Like its balky garage sign, Oyster Bay isn't pointing anyone in the right direction. That must change.