Parking limit signs removed in downtown Greenport

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Parking limit signs in Greenport Village were removed last week as part of a downtown cleanup project.

Nearly a month after the idea of bringing back parking meters was defeated, Greenport Mayor David Nyce said downtown parking limit signs are “unnecessary” and were removed last week as part of a downtown cleanup project.

The village code has long limited downtown parking to no more than two hours, but enforcement is virtually nonexistent due to budget constraints. The parking restrictions remain on the books even though the signs have been scrapped.

“They won’t be coming back,” Mr. Nyce said of the signs. “We have no means of paying for the enforcement.”

Since revenue from the proposed parking meters was intended to help fund a traffic control officer, Mr. Nyce said the signs will return only if a new arrangement to pay for enforcement is reached.

The village has long wrestled with a parking shortage that’s increased in intensity in the past few years. With no enforcement of the two-hour limit, 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.

Now that the signs have been removed, Business Improvement District president Peter Clarke said he believed the move “wouldn’t hurt or help businesses.”

“It didn’t seem that most visitors and residents paid attention to the signs since I’ve been here,” said Mr. Clarke, who moved to Greenport and opened Clarke’s Garden on Main Street in 2010.

In an effort to find solutions for parking congestion, the Village Board first financed a downtown parking study, completed in 2009. The board then approved a $100,000 bond to pay for the new parking meter system.

But during a special meeting March 8, the board rejected the pay-by-space meter proposal after business owners submitted a petition opposing the meters, which they said would deter shoppers from visiting their stores.

“It came. It went. It didn’t happen,” Mr. Clarke said of the parking meter proposal. “And now, we’re going to move on.”

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