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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."

Richard Kemp November 16, 2012 at 02:46 AM
John the facts about buying land for expansion lots is that people just do not want to walk to far. The parking lots on Terry St are a prime example(Before Artspace)In the 60's and I am going back away's no one would park on the south side of Terry St.That parking lot only filled up around Christmas Time when W.T. Grants were in the present Library Building. I know because I was the paper boy delivering Newsday for 3 years and I have to say back then there were parking meters all over the place,west Main st,South Ocean Ave,A few on Church st.,a few on Havens ave,a few on the North end of Railroad Ave,North Ocean Ave,a few on Oak St. now regarding the type of meters I am not in favor of the type that was being pitched because you have to remember that the more walking required people will go elsewhere.Babylon Village has a type of meter that has a built in flashing light when the meter is expired. Result is that this works great for parking ticket officers to cruise around in a car and be able to spot this flashing light easily.They made a BIG MISTAKE when they ripped out the meters so that they could install brick pavers.
florence casey November 16, 2012 at 02:53 AM
why is it when ever I go to downtown patchogue, the two closest lots to the brick house are packed and the other one behind the library and the theater are only half full? I know! Because the people that are coming into Patchogue are there to drink, and not for cultural or mind expanding events
Fed Up Resident November 16, 2012 at 04:15 AM
why do we need to put meters up on main street when there is no issues on main st with parking? the problems start when the emporium idiots start coming in, or when theres a show(the couple of times a year that happens) or when there is an event like alive after five. The problems start after 7 pm especially on the weekends. The restaurants and shop owners complain that theres no parking for the customers, but if they stayed opened later to take advantage of the crowds of people on the streets at night time they would not worry about the non parking issue during the day time on main street.
Archie Bunker November 16, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I don't think the residents are stuck footing the bill - the parking meters are suppose to fulfill that purpose. And village residents are allowed to park for free. Here's what will happen I suspect. Unless there is traffic enforcement ALWAYS there, people who have to run in a make an errand are going to largely ignore the meters. Parking is largely unenforced through out the village already in the muni lots. People are staying way beyond the two hour mandate in many spots. I know it first hand - my place of business uses a muni lot with restrictions that are NEVER enforced. Why doesn't the village start enforcing it's rules already on the books.
Archie Bunker November 16, 2012 at 02:45 PM
regardless????
Joseph Adriano November 16, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Someone had a really good idea on another blog. The Mayor should set a good example and walk or bike around town. Promote patchogue as a walkable downtown and also eliminate the need for taxpayer gas and vehicles. It may hurt his brother-in-law's used car business, but it would be good for Patchogue and the mayor's physique.
Joseph Adriano November 16, 2012 at 04:37 PM
In all seriousness, I think people would put money in a meter to eat out but not to run into a store for 10 minutes to buy cupcakes or a bottle of wine. It's an inconvenience for people running errands with little time to spare, not so much for people dining out. It's retail that will suffer and that is what is struggling on Main street right now in the first place. They took the meters out once. That was a smart decision and they should remain out.
David Kennedy November 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Judy..couple of things...a reveiw of the main street zoning designation shows that the zoning of the business on main street allow them to operate without providing parking...which is very similar to many municipal downtown zoning where the lots around the business district are owned by the municipality....it's there legal right. Also, I do disagree that comparing Patchogue with Port Jeff is "outlandish." While true Port Jeff is a much more established "entertainment" downtown," Patchogue certainly has grown in this area tremendously and has been established for near a decade as an entertainment attraction area. In fact, just in todays Newsday, the cover story of "Part 2" is all about how Patchogue nightlife is at a peak. Further, in one place you complain about "poor planning", yet isn't parking meters a planning tool to manage parking? You said it best Judy when you stated parking meters are a good thing to manage parking where people would visit more the 45 mins....most of the new entertainment oriented businesses would fit that description. A main purpose of parking meters is to encourage quick turn over of parking spaces closests to businesses that require only a quick stop...wouldn't that be good planning?
John Bogack November 16, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Joe, metered parking is a done deal. This issue has been on a slow burner for a long time now more than a year and I believe that the village leadership is ready to move forward. They have offered qualifications: village residents will have free access to the spots (although I have an idea about that), the vast majority of the spots will not be metered, there will be price differences for time of day or night, and it is not going to be a round the clock operation from what I am hearing so far. Money is the reality here: a half million a year minimum year after year probably more. It's a compelling argument. Also people still seem not to have grasped something: the revitalization of Patchogue Village has only begun. As I have said before the Emporium should be a wake up call. There is not enough parking now on weekend nights in particular. When New Village and the giant Riverwalk condo complex are both at full stream expect another thousand or so people on the street as well. The village has to buy land to build more lots and unless everyone is going to be taxed to do that then money has to be found from a new source to pay for the bonds that wil buy the land and pave the lots and then probably put metered parking on those new spaces too to generate a very large revenue stream to hold down village taxes for decades. I think what the public should be doing now is making sure the money goes into bettering the village: more code enforcement, no patronage for starters.
David Kennedy November 16, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Chris K...your enforcement question is a good one...certainly a higher volume of traffic requires additional officers to enforce the codes properly, which can be very costly...as I am sure you are aware, the parking codes that, besides handicap and loading spaces, are meant to encourage turnover of spots closests to businesses...meters are a way to get the same results without hiring more village employees to accomplish this same goal...prime parking turnover...still, it would be helpful if the village provided a cost analysis showing a comparrisoon of cost for meters vs the cost of say two/three? more officers to do the same thing...educated residents are the villages best citizens.
Joseph Adriano November 16, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Maybe the Mayor can hire a couple more relatives to hang out and monitor the parking situation on Main Street? Might be cheaper than meters...just an idea
Sickandried November 17, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Mr.Kennedy, Can you name a business district that's been POSITIVELY impacted by metered parking? Please inform me of the study or the village. Its going to hurt business. Its a tax, plan and simple. This all about rising money for the village to spend. The last parking study by the BID said we have plenty of parking. The Mayor and the Trustees told that in March. These village trustees dont know how to live on a budget. AND why did the Mayor need a new SUV 4x4? the car he drives is brand new.
Steve November 18, 2012 at 12:22 AM
As a volunteer with Patchogue ambulance that is not a village resident. The first parking ticket I get for responding to an alarm on main st, which is difficult enough in a personal vehicle, will go directly to the mayor for him to pay because I surely will not
Richard Kemp November 18, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Let the Emporium build there own tiered parking at their own expense,this is something that should have been brought up at the planning board level,but obviously was not.
Richard Kemp November 18, 2012 at 04:27 AM
I wonder who owns the vacant land on the South side of Church St.East of E. Wruck's Law Office???
Richard Kemp November 18, 2012 at 04:51 AM
As for the type of meter and the way it operates this is a very touchy thing and the Mayor and all trustees should be very careful about how they proceed.For Example I was in Manhattan one time an parked in an area that had a type of meter that looked a lot like the one pictured in this article.The way it operated was you put in some money and it spits out a paper ticket with your parking time allotment.The machine also covered about 20 cars ,so if you parked near the machine good,if there was a line at the machine you waited your turn,next you return to your car and put the paper inside your vehicle,visible to ticket officers Maybe there have been some improvements to this type of meter but my opinion is it was the worst type of all meters,Babylon Village has about the best type in my opinion with a built in flashing light. It has been mentioned that there is a type of meter that can be paid with your cell phone,but then you will get people who will swear up and down that the meter MALFUNCTIONED.............
Richard Kemp November 18, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Say by the way all you merchants has anyone spoken to ABE SIEGEL He was dead set against removing parking meters years ago ,Don't believe me check the trustees minutes,when the public was allowed to speak and it became part of the minutes.Not like the present minutes.
THE SOCIAL WORKER November 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I will have to go to TOMORROWS where there is free parking and the best sandwiches next to Katz's in NY
Patchogue November 18, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Does anybody know what they are building at the old Pete and Jim's restaurant site on 112?
Richard Kemp November 19, 2012 at 12:50 AM
John: Why does the Village have to get involved with PURCHASING LAND to create more parking for buisnesses???? I believe that many of the existing parking lots were created by the village and the buisness district was given a special zoning catagorie. I was really surprised to hear that the Emporium enjoys a covenant to use the parking lot of the Court building on West Main St. This property is land of Suffolk County,not Patchogue Village.
John Bogack November 19, 2012 at 01:58 AM
The Emporium parking situation reveals hidden truths about Patchogue Village. The owners of the Emporium never had to show any parking plan to the Planning Board. Turns out that Patchogue Village has very generous zoning laws. The space that the owners bought, the former Patchogue Manor, already had an approved occupancy level above one thousand persons. As a matter of right the owners simply had to qualify their business otherwise without regard to parking requirements. The zoning for their business allowed them to do so. Easy parking requirement leads to big business locating in the village. That is revitalization. If you build it they will come and that led to thousands of people now visiting that part of the village daily at night. A boon for the village. The trade off is that the village taxpayers not the business owners now have to deal with a new reality of tightened parking availability in the nearby area. Neighborhoods gain street traffic car and foot which does bring formerly darkened areas to life but also with that can come unwanted noise and crime fears. So one solution: buy land to build new parking lots to accommodate what is and what is yet to come. It’s a hard fact to face but that is reality. If metering will create a cash stream to fund the solutions that are needed then this is an idea whose time has come although it won’t be tidy when it does. There will be issues, nothing is perfect, but there is also a good chance it's the best solution.
Richard Kemp November 22, 2012 at 02:50 AM
John: Change of use? I never knew that the Patchogue Manor had a bowling alley.As far as parking lots,I believe that the present zoning catagorie along with the creation of "Free Parking Lots" was created about 1960 or earlier.Does that mean that for eternity the Village resident and taxpayer are supposed to subsdize buisness enterprises that do well???? You seem to have all the answers......... When does a buisness have to take care of it's own problems???????????And I am referring to situations including one-way streets,excess traffic created,talk of buying land to create new parking lots,talk of tiered parking lots.
Wayne D. November 22, 2012 at 01:04 PM
The city of Sarasota, Florida has hundreds of electronic parking meters that were put in and taken out a number of times, as of six months ago they were removed and they don't know what to do with them, shop keepers did not want them and they did not work as they should have. Call the City of Sarasota, I think they were just about ready to give them away.....
Richard Kemp November 22, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I believe that you might be referring to Pat and Jim's restaurant, this is a mile or more from the incorporated Village of Patchogue and has nothing to do with Patchogue Village Parking Meters.I do not know what is planned for that location.
Richard Kemp November 22, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Wayne:So partially what you are saying is that the old mechanical type are more reliable. I wonder what they did with the old mechanical type meters that they ripped out??? Trustee Bill Hilton told me a few years ago that the old meters were stored in the basement at Patchogue Village Hall.and it is recorded in the trustees minutes. Now that you bring up the point that electronic meters MALFUNCTIONED I wonder if The Village Trustee's have asked about a manufacturer's warranty on any meter being proposed???????????? Also what ever happened to the old meters???????????
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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