Shopkeepers up and down Main Street in the Port Washington Public Parking District are up in arms over the change in parking meters in the lots off Main Street.
The lots, which once had one meter per spot or every two spots, now have one meter for the entire lot where patrons enter their spot number and pay for their time. Even though the meters now allow two hours instead of one, many feel the extra time is not worth the inconvenience.
“The other meters were better,” said George Kleeman, who works at on Main St. “People could just put money in and walk in through the front door. Who wants to pull up and take a walk like that?”
Omar Gonzalez, another Allstate worker, worried about what will happen when winter comes. “There’s going to be ice, snow and slush,” he said. He and his colleague also felt it was easier for people to have meters with less time because many of their patrons come in to make quick payments and leave. “They’re in and out,” he said. “They don’t want to pay for that.”
Some owners also feel like the meters are taking away from their business. Sharon Siew at has had numerous complaints from her customers since the change. “Especially when it comes to winter it’s tough,” she said. “We’ve already lost some business because people don’t want to walk. We’ve sent in a petition already,” she said, referring to a push to get attention from the
One of the workers at Senniyo chimed in saying she noticed an increase in the amount of traffic on Main St. because people are spending more time looking for spots as opposed to just going to the back parking lots.
Linda Colombo of has also sent in petitions about the meters, saying the meters have affected her business and were put in unfairly. “I just came in one day and they were changing it,” she said. “It’s been hurting my business.” Colombo said she’s heard complaints about the walk when it’s raining and when older customers try to come to her shop. “It’s hard enough for them to walk as is,” she said. “I offer to put quarters in the meter for them so they don’t have to walk.”
“You need to have a place to pay on each side of the parking lot,” said Ellen Fox, a patron at Frank’s Pizza. “You need more than one location.”
Upon learning that people were upset about the meters, Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio went to address the situation. After assessing the sites, the town came to the conclusion that nothing could be done at the time.
“It does not seem feasible to relocate the existing meter,” she said in an earlier email addressing the issue. “And not cost effective to purchase another one.”
Still, some hope for a different outcome.
“We got complaints because we help quality of life in Port Washington and this was a thing that upset people,” said Mindy Germain, executive director of . “Councilwoman De Giorgio is listening and realized something needs to change. We have full faith that she will be on this.”
John Fabio, who oversees Port Washington’s public parking, said that though they looked into other options, he wants people to acknowledge the good the meters have brought to the community. “We just removed 200 meters that had to be maintained and collected from and brought them down to four,” he said. He also said that the meters would eventually be able to take credit and debit cards as well. “New York City has already moved in this direction. We’re using technology for cost effectiveness and better service.”