A remedy for the parking shortage that has plagued downtown Huntington for years will be sought once again.
On Aug 11, the Huntington Town Board accepted a donation of $5,000 from the Economic Development Corporation to fund an update to Level G Associates’ 3-year-old parking study.
“Back in July 2018 the study determined a 528 space parking garage is physically and financially feasible,” Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said in a telephone interview. “We’re going to get back and reevaluate the study that was done to assess the feasibility of constructing, maintaining and operating a parking garage in the municipal parking lot between New Street and Green Street, just south of Main Street.”
Lupinacci said the board has explored other ventures to resolve Huntington’s parking dilemma as well.
“In April of 2019, the Town Board equalized rates for on-street parking meters to increase the turnover of on-street parking spots,” and came from the study’s recommendations, he said. “And in April 2019, the Town Board also voted to strengthen the town’s ability to enforce existing parking rules for the worst repeat violators.”
The following month, Lupinacci said, the board approved the purchase of former Chase Bank property at the northwest corner of Gerard Street and New York Avenue.
The goal was to demolish the building to create a 71-stall municipal parking lot. However, the demolition motion failed last year, when board members Joan Cergol and Gene Cook voted against the proposal.
With some solutions in place and proposals potentially back on the table, as well as a post-pandemic downtown resurgence, the town is seeking an update based on current parking demands.
Lupinacci said Level G’s updates should be completed “in the next couple months.”
“We just want to make sure that we have ample parking during peak times so the businesses and the restaurants and the bars and our arts and entertainment can continue to thrive,” he said.
Full steam ahead
In the meantime, upgrades to the Huntington LIRR station are set to begin soon.
The time has come for upgrades to the station’s south parking lot, Lupinacci said, while the lot has not returned to full capacity following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, the town secured $746,722 from its capital and operating budgets to renovate the lot.
The plan includes updated lighting, the installation of underground electrical conduits for electric vehicle charging stations and the creation of approximately 20 new parking stalls.
Lupinacci said purchase orders have been issued for various contractors for the project, and “our anticipated start date is within the next week or so.”
Another project has already started. Construction on the MTA LIRR-owned east end pedestrian overpass at the Huntington station started last week, according to Lupinacci. The project “is expected to displace 11 parking spaces on the north side of the tracks between the parking garage and the platform,” he said.
“Commuters should enter and exit all trains from the first six cars, and there will be changes to parking availability and parking garage access points,” he said.
The town-owned overpass and elevator at the west end of the parking garage, he added, would remain unaffected by the project.
That project is expected to be completed in the third quarter of next year, he said.
Top: Municipal lot between Green St. and New St., taken from Google Maps