Village ponders parking policy


During the summer, parking is at a premium on Front Street in Greenport, even on weekdays. Village Board members are considering some changes to parking rules and enforcement by Southold Police.

No parking? Leave your vehicle at a hydrant or in a handicapped space or one of those 10-minute spots around Greenport, even though you expect to be much longer. No one will ticket you.

That could all be about to change as the Village Board takes a look at its parking rules and codifies them so that Southold police can enforce them.

But first, Village Board members must agree on what they want. Enforcing 10-minute spots at the IGA supermarket, Colonial Drug Store and on southern Main Street isn’t practical for the community because the time is too short, they agreed. Mayor David Nyce suggested at Monday night’s village board work session posting the spots for 30 minutes, while others thought 20 would do. But they all agreed that there’s a need for more short-term parking spots.

And what about the two-hour parking throughout much of downtown Greenport? Trustee Michael Osinski thought two hours wasn’t enough for a visitor who wanted to eat at a local restaurant and then do anything else in the village. He suggested four hours. Others thought that was too long and said signs should direct drivers to the lots on Adams Street and the Long Island Rail Road lot just west of the East End Seaport Museum.

But former trustee Bill Swiskey told board members they’re losing revenue by not installing parking meters downtown. He noted that on a recent trip to Tennessee, he noticed that meters cost a quarter for 15 minutes. The meters would assure more turnover of parking spots and bring revenue to the village, he said.

While noting that Greenport Business Improvement District president Mike Acebo favors enforcement of parking regulations, Mr. Nyce pointed out another side to the coin of strict enforcement.

“We’re a tourist-driven economy,” the mayor said. Ticketing visitors could leave a bad taste in their mouths, he said.

“We have an issue three months of the year,” the mayor said of the parking problem.

He said he favored providing more short-term spots in areas such as the supermarket, drug store and for businesses such as White’s Hardware and Hommel Plumbing and Heating supply on Main Street. White’s reported doing poorer business on summer weekends than it does the rest of the year, the mayor said. Customers who would typically go to White’s can’t find parking and opt to go to Southold for their supplies in the summer, he said.

Similarly, workers need parts they purchase from Hommel early on weekend mornings so they can take them to job sites, but they get supplies elsewhere if they can’t find parking, the mayor said.

“We need to try to help those businesses that are being pushed out,” Mr. Nyce said.

The board authorized village attorney Joseph Prokop to provide information on codes used by Southold Town to enforce rules about parking near fire hydrants and handicapped parking. Meanwhile, the village code committee will work on drawing up a map to propose to the full board on where and for how long parking should be allowed throughout the business district.

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