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Much Ado About Parking

Port Washington Public Parking District proposes the purchase of several properties for merchant and commuter parking lots.

Finding a parking spot in town, arguably, is no picnic. This is especially true not only in the five local commuter lots within easy walking distance to the train station, but also on Main Street. And solving the parking problem so that residents and officials see eye-to-ey may prove just as difficult.

This was a subject of debate at Tuesday's Town of North Hempstead Board meeting, where residents and officials discussed newly proposed merchant and commuter parking lots on Port Washington Blvd. South Bayles Ave. and Haven Ave. While officials say the proposed parking lots would enhance quality of life by reducing the number of double-parked cars and easing congestion, many residents disagree. 

Port Washington resident Laura Shabe says the congestion on Main Street and Port Washington Blvd. is already a disaster. 

"I live right near these proposed parking lots and a lot of residents feel this will increase the already congested area," Shabe said.

Specifically, the Port Washington Parking District is considering purchasing 1070 Port Washington Blvd., which is owned by Shields Hardware. This property also encompasses vacant land on Main Street and Ohio Ave. If purchased, all three parcels of land would allow for 20 to 30 merchant parking spots. In addition, two other spots are under consideration, according to Councilman Fred Pollack. One is at 50 South Bayles Ave., "which we would just reconfigure an existing parking lot with 70 to 75 parking spots," Pollack said. The other is on Haven Ave. across from the train station, which would  allow for 20 commuter parking spots, Pollack said.

A public hearing on the proposed parking lots is set for September 14, and the details about design, properties the town would purchase and bond will be addressed at that time, Pollack said. A mailing will also go out to residents in the upcoming weeks, he added.

Port Washington resident John Chadwell said he would like residents to have the opportunity  discuss the matter further.  

"I am worried about rodents and stray cats roaming around once the old Shields property is torn down," Chadwell said. "I live by Ohio Street and the residents and I need to discuss this with the Town Board."

Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman said that plans were not definite as of yet and that the Town Board is scheduling a public hearing on September 14 to clarify details.

"If we acquire the Shields property, we want to do some greening – plant some trees and bushes," Kaiman said. "However, we don't have a specific design right now for any of the possible properties."

Town of North Hempstead Deputy Town Attorney Andrew Hyman estimates the parking lot project would cost over $4.6 million, but the total costs are not all calculated yet.

"We will be saving millions of dollars by acquiring these small parcels," Kaiman said. "People can't find a place to park on Main Street and parking is critical for Main Street business survival. The law allows the Parking District to acquire property and the goal now is to set a public hearing."

R Miller August 26, 2010 at 10:18 AM
This is great let us have the town aquire more property which will come of the tax role. This will result in all the residents and businesses to pick up the lost revenue in our property taxes. Not a smart thing to do in this economy. Why not do a two tier lot at the trainstation. The land is already dedicated for parking.
Doug Augenthaler August 26, 2010 at 02:59 PM
Amazing.... $4.6 million for 30 spaces is $153,333 per space. If you charge $10 per day to park, 300 days per year (roughly 6 days per week), each space will generate $3000 in revenue per year. That means its only 51 years to breakeven, assuming no interest costs. Yeah, this makes sense... The assessed value of 1070 PW Blvd is $440,000. The A.V is supposed to reflect market value, which means the three properties in theory are worth about 1.3 million. If the market value is of those parcels is really $800K to $1 million each, then Shields has been paying about half the tax they should for many years. If market value is really $440,K then why are we paying about 2X market value? Another problem I have is that this deal rewards Shields for leaving this eyesore for 30+ years. If TNH wants get rid of that eyesore and won't try to do it with the means available to government, just take it down for $100K and be done with it. We need parking, no question, but grossly overpaying for property makes no sense. For $4.6 million, they could buy 5-6 houses next to the commercial area that will provide more room for parking. Look at what the Salon Commisso guys did on North Bayles for their own use.
Ben August 26, 2010 at 05:36 PM
Mr. Augenthaler, The Shields property has been an eyesore for a lot longer that 30 years this mess has been here for at least 45 years --- Port residents should remember this the next time they are thinking of which hardware store to go to? Ask yourself, am I going to give Sheilds my cash as they let these dangerous buildings rot and use them as a tax shelter for decades? ABOUT PARKING -- If new parking lots are created and ENFORCEMENT OF PARKING RULES and regulations are stepped-up this would help the problem no doubt. The TNH and PWPD parking enforcement effort is poor and sporatic to say the least. PWPD Officers are lazy, do not write tickets because they feel this task is beneath them and leave it up to a TNH Parking Enforcement Agent who is another Civil Servant just as lazy and so many tickets are never written. Yes this is true I have a confidential source at the PWPD. Chief Killfoil is fully aware of this attitude amoung his Officers. HANDICAPPED PARKING RULES ARE IGNORED BY MANY DRIVERS HERE. If the PWPD and TNH would step up enforcment of parking rules and begin to burden violators with fines, $$$ hit them in the pocket book I belive the problem would be lessened a bit. Try parking you car in Manhattan on Lexington Ave and see what happens when the meter is not fed see how FAST a ticket will be on your winsheild. PW Parking should be this FAST but it is far from it. And its Ohio Ave and not Ohio Street. B Fitz
george September 22, 2010 at 01:20 PM
its not the first time Kaiman made a brilliant move at tax payer expense. He wanted to buy a house in manhasset adjacent to the town hall to address 'overc crowding' for 800K. TNH actually OUT BID a family who wanted the house. After a huge public outcry he/tnh backed down. The guy is a dopy buracrate that could not keep a job in the private sector. tnh loves to dole out tickets in PW too which pushes people away from shopping. give em a 30 minute parking window and allow for turn over. get ride of the parking ticket issuance and the cost of those Prius' running all over the place and the over head and save us all some cash. its a recession! receed TNH!!!
Brenda July 24, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I am from South Carolina and visiting my grandchildren. I went downtown to have a massage and parked in a lot right in front of the sign that said 8 spaces 2 hr parking. When I came out their was a ticket for $55! They even told me at Massage Envy that it was ok to park there. I cannot come back to appear in court to plead not guilty. Left a bad taste in my mouth for Port Washington! Time to move into the 21st century Port Washington!!!!
George Mulligan July 24, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Brenda, I feel your pain. When my daughter visited us awhile ago she found a ticket on her car for parking in a "handicap" space on Main Street. However, there are no handicap spaces. She went to the local police department and they verified her claim. The police lieutenant got the Town of North Hempstead to void the ticket. Sometimes the parking agents are overly agressive. That sure hurts the business community and as you say leaves a bad taste in the mouth of visitors to Port. I've also heard of patients in doctors offices around Maryland Ave. getting tickets if their appointments ran overtime. This is not good.
Tom Tiernan August 01, 2012 at 11:30 AM
The pwpd does not issue tickets. The only maintain meters and issue stickers. Either your "confidential source" is wrong, or youre just stupid. Do your research.

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