Williston Park weighs parking meters for business districts

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Village of Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar is seen on April 24, 2017. (Photo by Rebecca Anzel)

By Rebecca Anzel

The Williston Park Board of Trustees is considering the installation of parking meters in the village’s business districts after the presentation of a revenue report at its meeting Monday.

The report, prepared by New Jersey-based DEVO & Associates, outlines the number of parking spaces currently available along Willis and Hillside avenues both on the street and in lots, potential revenue generated from charging for those spots and the cost of meters.

A company spokesman, David Borgese, recommended that the board consider a “hybrid” approach — a mix of solar-powered street meters and larger kiosks for lot parking, monitored at least 12 hours per day, six days a week.

Depending on the price per hour the board sets for street parking, installing meters could provide up to $600 in revenue per day, or $3,600 per week, according to the report. In parking lots, meters could generate $276 daily, or $1,656 weekly.

“This is the one project that people from outside your town contribute to, versus just the citizens in your town,” Borgese said.

Based on the report, Borgese said the board should purchase 229 meters manufactured by Parekon at a cost of $135,800. DEVO & Associates recently won a “piggyback” contract with Mineola, Borgese said, which allows Williston Park to avoid a bidding process and instead purchase the meters through Mineola.

“The thing we have to approach at this point, and it’ll be a lengthy discussion, is whether or not the board wants to go in this direction,” Mayor Paul Ehrbar said.

The board has a lot of options to consider, Borgese said during the presentation.

The larger meters proposed for parking lot payment are able to display community messages and advertisements from local businesses, which would be an additional source of revenue, he said. Another choice is whether to allow customers to pay using a cell phone app.

Village officials would also need to decide if they want to charge for parking based on space, license plate number or a receipt displayed on a car’s dashboard.

Whatever the board decides, Borgese said that based on his experiences in other municipalities, he recommends implementing parking meters in lots first before adding them to street spots.

Also at the meeting Monday, the Board of Trustees met with Elissa Kyle, the planning director at Vision Long Island, about the possibility of working to revitalize Williston Park’s downtown area.

Vision Long Island has worked with municipalities such as Farmingdale and Westbury to make spaces pedestrian-friendly, support local businesses and create diverse housing options.

The organization’s role, Kyle said, is not to create a vision for the village’s downtown space but to develop a plan for implementing changes reflecting what community members want to see. It organizes public meetings to generate ideas and helps to achieve the village’s goals.

“Downtowns do best based on their sense of place — they’re usually not going to be the cheapest place to get something or the most convenient place to find parking,” Kyle said. “The reason people go there is for the experiences.”

When asked by Ehrbar if she had any preliminary ideas for Williston Park, Kyle said some storefronts could be updated to be more aesthetically pleasing and strategies could be developed to tackle the village’s limited parking. She stressed, though, that ideas should originate with residents.

After the presentation, the board agreed to discuss the possibility of working with Vision Long Island further.

Ehrbar told the other officials to drive around Williston Park and develop a few ideas, and said they would reconvene the discussion at the board’s next meeting.

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