PORT JEFFERSON PATCH
Feb. 5, 2013
By: Lon Cohen
The parking meter money is going back to where it was generated, announced Port Jefferson Trustee Laurence LaPointe at Monday night’s board meeting. He said that after some improvements were made to the lot on the west side of the village, it’s time for the next steps in enhancement of Port Jefferson’s parking areas.
Long a point of frustration for visitors, residentsand business owners alike, parking meters in Port Jefferson have ultimately raised about $885,000 for the village since 2007. Of that, $559,963 is still in reserve while $324,662 has been spent on various projects to improve parking lots.
LaPointe reported that about $128,000 was put into lighting of the “Meadow” parking lot (accessed from Maple Place and behind Pace’s Steak House on the western side of the village), with $45,000 used for other work on the lot. Another $39,000 was used to increase free parking in Caroline Avenue. Engineering fees for projects on other parking lots, camera security and installing Dickens lampposts took up the rest of the funds.
The village is now contemplating a major project for the Trader’s Cove parking lot off Arden Place that includes fixing a major problem with flooding. This autumn, a torrential rainstorm resulted in flooding that submerged cars and caused damage to vehicles parked in the lot.
Aside from fixing the flooding problem, a plan presented by LaPointe included raised pedestrian walkways running from Arden Place across the lot, better lighting and cosmetic improvement like a stamped concrete walkway around the lot that mimics brick. The village also proposes replacing some of the brick on the stairs up to East Main Street on the southern side of the lot.
Lapointe said the village is working on estimates for the project but the improvements come with a cost aside from money.
The walkways sacrifice about 15 parking spaces of the 74 spots currently in Trader’s Cove. To make up for the loss LaPointe said that free parking spots might be added in other areas away from the center of the village by Caroline Field. He said that people willing to walk two blocks can park for free while those looking for the luxury of parking in the heart of the village will have to pay for it.
Another idea to help regain lost spaces was to have business owners who have private parking spots on their property in the lot give them up to the village for metered parking spaces in exchange for the village maintaining and paving the now private areas. Letters to affected business owners were sent out with the proposal on Jan. 10 and so far only one positive response was returned.
LaPointe said many have good reasons why they are reluctant to give up rights to personal spots, especially restaurants that need a reserved spot for access to food delivery vehicles.
“If you own property you want to control what happens to it,” he said. “You want to make sure you and your employees can park on it. People don’t want to give up control of their property.”
When he presents the plan for improving Trader’s Cove parking to businesses, LaPointe hopes to change their minds.
“We’ll try to sell them on it,” he said.