Roslyn chamber members, merchants oppose new village parking rules

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Roslyn chamber members, merchants oppose new village parking rules
Roslyn Chamber of Commerce President Steve Blank said merchants and residents have complained to the chamber about the recently adopted parking meter rules. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

Members of the Roslyn Chamber of Commerce spoke against the village’s new parking meter rules Tuesday night, citing concerns from business owners and patrons alike.

Village of Roslyn Trustee Sarah Oral suggested the village look into replacing the parking meters, possibly with upgraded versions that allow users to increase their time on their phones. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

Roslyn Chamber of Commerce President Steve Blank said at the Board of Trustees meeting that the two main complaints he has heard are about removing the 10-minute free ticket option and extending the metered time by two hours, changing the hours to 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

“We also need to consider the health of the businesses on Old Northern Boulevard and in the village,” Blank said. “Losing a customer can be very expensive for a business, and you get a reputation. You’re already seeing that on social media.”

Knit owner Cheryl Lavenhar said the new hours particularly hurt her business, which opens at 10:30 a.m., because her customers, who often spend time in the shop working on knitting and other crafting projects, either have to remember to run to the meter at 11 a.m. or pay extra when they park around 10:30 a.m.

Lavenhar said she was unaware the meter rule changes were being considered until she read about the approval in the Roslyn Times.

Trustees approved the changes in May after a study by traffic engineer Gerard Giosa, and Durkin said no residents or merchants came to that meeting to voice concerns before the changes were adopted and took effect on June 1.

Before June 1, parking was metered from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, and a 10-minute free parking ticket was available.

Mayor John Durkin said the hours were changed after a recommendation by Giosa to allow people running errands earlier in the day to park for free without the 10-minute free tickets.

“The intent of doing it later was to make it easier for people doing business in the morning, the quicker people who are stopping at the delicatessens,” Durkin said. “We thought doing it later in the day would be helping people, not hurting people. It wasn’t an effort to punish people; it was an effort to alleviate a situation.”

Giosa’s report showed that meter revenue declined by 44 percent in 2017 to $118,973 compared with $212,469 the previous year. First quarter 2018 revenue was up by about 33 percent compared with the first three months of 2017.

The 2017 revenue drop was seen across cash and credit card payments, and Giosa’s analysis concluded that abuse of the 10-minute grace period was a factor. The report also said that Fridays and Saturdays generate the most revenue, 18.7 percent and 26.5 percent respectively.

Village Attorney John Gibbons said Gioso was positive that the 10-minute free period was being abused, possibly by shoppers repeatedly getting a free ticket instead of paying the $1 an hour fee.

Trustee Marta Genovese said the problem with parking in the village has been ongoing and is still years from solved, especially since the number of parking spots is limited for the number of shops and restaurants on Old Northern Boulevard.

Durkin said he would be in favor of a committee of chamber members, merchants and village officials to discuss potential changes, including updating the machines. Oral said she would be in favor of updating the machines to allow users to increase their time on a phone app, similar to those in the Village of Great Neck Plaza.

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