Greenport set to vote on downtown parking meters next month

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | The Greenport Village Board will vote next month on a plan to add eight solar-powered parking meters to downtown.

The Greenport Village Board is expected to vote next month on a contract to install eight solar-powered parking meters downtown in time for the summer season.

Village administrator David Abatelli said he plans to recommend that the board enter into a contract with Metric Parking of New Jersey, which has also installed meters in Port Jefferson Village.

If the contract is approved at next month’s board meeting at the Third Street firehouse, the parking meters could be installed along Front and Main streets as early as April. Over 70 prime parking spaces will be affected. Visitors can continue to park in municipal lots for free with no time restrictions, officials said.

Mayor David Nyce said the main objective of installing meters downtown is to deter store owners and their employees from parking their vehicles in front of businesses for long periods.

“This isn’t designed to be an additional burden and it should help with the flow of parking during the busy summer season,” Mr. Nyce said. “The goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to find parking when they come here.”

The metering method Mr. Abatelli is recommending to the board is called “pay and display.” Once a parking space is paid for, the meter, which will accept cash and credit cards, issues a ticket for the driver to display on the dashboards. Visitors will be allowed to pay for up to two hours of parking at a time. The cost hasn’t been finalized.

Mr. Abatelli said this method is less expensive than a “pay by space” setup because the village won’t have to maintain painted numbers within parking spaces.

He added the machines are more aesthetically pleasing than parking meters erected at each parking spot. Traditional parking meters that were previously in place in the village were removed during David Kapell’s tenure as mayor in an effort to make Greenport more visitor-friendly.

But many people now park on Main and Front streets early in the morning and leave their cars there all day, making parking more difficult for visitors during the swamped summer months. The village has been wrestling with the best way to handle the congestion for more than a year.

In June, the Village Board approved a $100,000 bond to pay for new parking meters, new road striping and signs letting drivers know of the changes. Metric Parking’s meters cost about $8,000 each. In addition, $12,000 is being allocated to pay for a Southold Town Police traffic control officer to enforce village parking regulations full-time during the summer.

Parking in downtown areas of South and First streets and on Main Street south of Front Street is already limited to a half-hour.

Parking fines are set at $50 per ticket and violations near fire hydrants and in handicapped spots carries $100 fines.

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