By Connor Beach
It’s going to get a little more expensive to park on some streets in Huntington village.
The Huntington town board approved Tuesday an increase in parking rates for metered spots on many of the village’s side streets.
The resolution, sponsored by Councilman Eugene Cook and seconded by Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, increases the fee to park on streets like Green, New and West Carver Streets from 50 cents per hour to $1 per hour. Parking rates on the village’s side streets will now match the cost to park on higher trafficked Main Street and New York Avenue.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Cook said. “Parking was different on some streets, and this equals it out.”
The fee increase was passed 3-2. Councilman Ed Smyth voted with Cook and Lupinacci to approve the increase, while Councilwoman Joan Cergol and Mark Cuthbertson opposed it.
Cuthbertson said he felt the town should not increase parking fees “until we as a board take more concrete steps towards acquiring more parking spaces.”
Cergol, referring to a 2013 parking study by consulting firm Nelson\Nygaard, said the fee increase “runs completely counter to what that recommendation was.”
In their report, Nelson/Nygaard recommended the town charged $1 per hour to park on core blocks along New York Avenue and Main Street and $.50 per hour on blocks within the area bounded by High Street, Prospect Street, Gerard Street and Myrtle Avenue.
Cook said he didn’t feel there is a need to distinguish between these “primary” and “secondary” streets for parking rates. He said it doesn’t make sense that a driver could pay a lower rate if they simply turned the corner from Main Street onto Wall Street.
The fee increase comes after a recent announcement by Lupinacci that the Department of Public Safety created a new Parking Enforcement Team (PET) in downtown Huntington village on March 1.
Town officials said between March 1 and April 10 the PET, two full-time and occasional part-time officers, have issued 3,303 parking summonses worth a face value of $233,935.
“We’ve had virtually no negative feedback from the public since we rolled out our Parking Enforcement Team and summons numbers are up over 100 percent,” Public Safety Director Peter Sammis said in a statement. “I think people are relieved to see the enforcement of parking rules, especially when there has been abuse of parking for so long.”
The town board unanimously passed Tuesday a new law requiring drivers to respond to a ticket within 30 days. Penalties for ignoring a parking ticket will include a default judgment, nonrenewal of New York State motor vehicle registration or booting a car.
The new parking enforcement law takes effect on July 1.