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Parking Meters Nearing Reality in Patchogue Village

Non-Village residents will need to pay to park in 370 spots; $500,000 in annual revenue projected for Village.

Parking meters are making their way back to Patchogue Village. 

More than a decade after they were removed, the Village Board is set to seek out bids to install a metered parking system for about 370 parking spots on Main Street, S. Ocean Avenue and the Church Street lot. 

The plan is to install 18 so-called muni-meters in those areas and visitors to the Village will need to note their parking spot number before feeding the meter, officials said. Village residents with a valid resident sticker will continue to park for free. 

“The revenue will allow us to expand our lots,” Mayor Paul Pontieri said at Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting. “It will give us funds that we need to purchase properties and to create more parking because we are tight. Let those funds come from people other than the residents.” 

Revenue from the meters and the associated fines for those 370 spots is estimated at $500,000 a year, according to Gerry Giosa, of Level G Parking Consultants. 

Giosa, in a presentation to the board Tuesday, said that the Village currently has “an abundance” of free parking, more than 2,000 spots in the central business district (350 on the street and 1,700 in lots). 

“That’s fantastic, but free parking is not free,” said Giosa, speaking of the costs of maintaining the parking areas, from putting up lights to snow removal. 

Giosa cited several other Long Island downtowns, including Babylon, Northport, Rockville Centre and Port Jefferson, that currently offer metered parking. 

“They have seen that charging for parking is a way to get something back, to offset the additional expense associated with these visitors,” he said. 

Rates for the meters have been discussed with a range of 50-75 cents an hour during the business day, with a possible flat fee for visitors at night. 

“If someone is going to dinner or a show, put $5 in the meter and stay there until 5 a.m. the next morning,” said Pontieri, adding that the Village will sit down with other municipalities, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District, to come up with the finalized fee structure. 

Each muni-meter costs $10,000-$12,000 so the Village would need to make an initial investment of about $200,000 to get the system in place, Giosa said. Once installed, the cost to the Village is $40 a month per meter for software and processing fees. With 18 meters, that works out to $8,640 a year. 

The meters themselves–which would be installed from West Avenue to Maple Avenue on Main Street and Main Street to Terry Street on S. Ocean Avenue–would generate an estimated $300,000 a year for the Village, with another $200,000 or so in fines, Giosa said. The total revenues could be as high as $700,000 a year, Giosa said.

Pontieri said he'd like to set up a parking commission with those revenues being held separate from the General Fund so that they can be used specifically for improving the business district, namely with regard to parking. 

"Keep that money within that downtown," the mayor said. 

The handful of residents who spoke at Tuesday’s board meeting spoke in favor of the meters, but business owners in the Village have expressed reservations during discussions on the topic. 

Lori Belmonte, owner of The Colony Shop on Main Street, posted on the Patchogue Patch Facebook page Tuesday night that she believed parking should remain free and that the Village needs to build tiered parking lots, a topic that has been discussed in recent years. 

“I feel if people are coming to our Village to shop, dine or go to the theater, why should they be penalized?” Belmonte wrote. 

In Port Jefferson, where meters were put in place about five years ago, business owners and employees have continually criticized the parking policy. 

"It hinders our customers," Donny Stanley, a clerk at Greentique gift shop in Port Jefferson told Port Jefferson Patch earlier this year. "They complain about it all the time. Even if you want to pop into a store for five minutes you have to pay." 

Parking meters were in place on Main Street in Patchogue Village for five decades until the late 90s when Village officials decided to remove them because they felt people would be more inclined to shop in the Village if there was free parking, Krieger told Patch after Tuesday’s meeting. 

But Krieger said that with the Village “on the upswing," it makes sense to collect some revenue from out-of-town visitors to provide for the upkeep of current parking areas and invest in new ones. 

“We are confident that this will happen,” said Krieger, who said his personal goal is to have the meters in place next spring. “We don’t have a parking problem. We have a walking problem.” 

If metered parking in the Church Street lot becomes successful, the board will look at expanding the system to other areas, but at least for the near future, free parking will certainly still exist in the Village, Krieger said. 

"I think one of the misconceptions here is that we are charging people to park in the Village of Patchogue," he said. "There will be 1,700 free parking spaces in the Village so if you really don't want to pay for parking, you park behind Terry Street or you park behind Oak Street and then you walk to where you have to go."

Wayne D. November 23, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Richard, If they go electronic I hope someone involved will read this or at least ask that question, it seems the City of Sarasota did not, but then again when you have friends in the business why ask ..
Jo Miller November 23, 2012 at 02:17 PM
John, I disagree that the night life engenderd by the Emporium is an asset to the Village. On the contrary, I think that it has revealed the shadow side of progress. However, that is another discussion. Parking has become a problem. How and why is also another discussion. An attempt to resolve this problem should be judged on its' own merits rather than on our feelings about the elected officials who proposed it. Neither proponents or opponents of metered parking can predict the outcome with any certainty. If successful, great! If not we live with the consequences or maybe take another direction. The world will not come to an end. I do share your concern that metered parking and the establishment of a parking commission might provide the opportunity to create patronage jobs.
Richard Kemp November 25, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Wayne: Your right all options as to the type of Meter,including getting out the old one's should be investigated.From what I have read so far it does appear that there are a few different varieties out there.
Wayne D. November 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Richard, I would think the old meters would not be able to accept 1 or 5 dollar bills and credit cards so put the old meters at the sand Sand spit and drop the charge for a yearly pass that is only enforced for a few months and put some at the South Ocean ave dock where everyone pays resident or not then those in charge could give a contract to some friends that make parking meters...
Richard Kemp November 25, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Wayne: What is left of the Sandspit??? The Dock is gone... Pontieri talks big numbers from anticipated parking meter revenues and so does his pal the salesman.Just checked out parking meters on Google There are many different varieties out there,but ALL are subject to vandalism and MALFUNCTION.And the facts are people just do not want to walk far away from there car.That is why the Terry St.South parking lot was a bomb from the day it was created. Wound up with everything from Skateboard parks to eventually accomodate the moving of a house from Railroad Ave and then the Artspace building. You are right about paper money ,only at certain locations.

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