Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said last Wednesday that the village board is considering ending metered parking hours at 6 p.m.
His declaration at a board meeting came after Mineola resident Allison Martinez said during a public comment period that with the recent increase of staffing in Mineola and metered parking hours extending as late as 9 p.m., ticketing has been heavily enforced, saying, “At 8:01 p.m. we’re getting ticketed.”
Martinez, who said she lives on Harrison Avenue between Mineola Boulevard and Willis Avenue in a two-family home, said that due to heavy traffic on her block, parking can be very difficult and sometimes she has to park at meters.
She said that she has to go outside to pay a meter every two hours.
Mineola Clerk Joseph Scalero said in a previous interview that issues of understaffing have led to less code enforcement and regulations like metered parking on Saturdays have always existed in the village.
“The Saturday rules have always been in place. We haven’t changed those,” Strauss said.
Martinez said she has corresponded with Strauss on the issue via email, saying that Strauss cited the need for metered parking in that area due to close proximity to NYU Winthrop Hospital and Mineola’s LIRR station and he said a lack of meters would result in commuters parking on the block all day, hurting local businesses.
“With all due respect I think you’re incorrect,” Martinez said. She said the decision to enforce parking hours up to 9 p.m. only affects residents on Harrison Avenue.
“After 6 p.m. businesses start to close down, commuters go home and now we’re left with having to pay meters until 9 p.m.,” Martinez said. “Now 13 hours a day you expect residents to go out and fill out a meter every two hours.”
Strauss said the village will do whatever it can to help local businesses and residents, saying that maybe the village should not be enforcing parking on Saturdays in Martinez’s area. Trustee Dennis Walsh said that move could lead to people parking on Martinez’s block all weekend.
“There is a consequence to everything that we do. We just try to make it the least hurtful on everybody,” Strauss said.
Strauss said that the village’s code enforcers are not only issuing tickets at meters but are checking if cars are inspected and regulating illegal parking such as that near fire hydrants.
Martinez also asked that residents on the block get special parking permits to avoid getting ticketed for not paying meters. In response, Strauss and village lawyer John P. Gibbons said that the village could not issue special permits because it violates state law. Gibbons said that streets are held in the public trust and cannot be restricted to residents.
“If you think that there’s a better way for doing things then we’re all ears,” Strauss said. “But giving ‘resident only’ stickers to residents sounds like a great idea and I’ve heard it since the day I’ve sat in this chair, but unfortunately we can’t do it.”