Parking app launched
BAY SHORE—Supervisor Angie Carpenter and members of the Islip Town Board held a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 18 to mark the launch of the ParkMobile app in Bay Shore. ParkMobile, which actually launched in November of last year, is an app that allows patrons to pay for parking through their smartphone, eliminating the need to carry coins, rush to feed pay stations, or worry about expiring times. Councilman John Cochrane, who has been a strong advocate of the parking meter system, said the announcement was held off until last week because parking was free in downtown Bay Shore over the holiday season.
The event was held at Napper Tandy on E. Main Street, where Carpenter pointed out that even on a cold afternoon like last Thursday, Bay Shore has a bustling downtown. Nearly every parking spot on the street was filled during that time. Parking on the street is limited to two hours between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., except Sundays and holidays. There is also no limit on the streets after 9 p.m. Parking in the back lots, however, is limited to four hours after 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and after 6 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. There is also no parking in the back lots between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. any day of the week.
Carpenter said the parking meters, which were approved unanimously by the Islip Town Board, are necessary to manage parking in Bay Shore. She added there is a similar situation in both Huntington and Patchogue, where there are also a lot of apartments and restaurants. In regards to the parking meter system, Cochrane said it was important to listen to the community. One of the things requested, he said, was an application that would allow visitors to pay for parking through their cellphone. “Right now, our parking meters [take] credit cards and coins,” Cochrane added. “This [app] gives us another dimension.”
Councilman Jim O’Connor joked about being a “dinosaur” due to recently turning 55 years old, but said younger people who “live on their phones” shouldn’t have a problem getting used to the app. According to Carpenter, hundreds of people have already signed up for the app.
Willy Nilly owner Marilyn Schulman was a little more pessimistic about the app, saying an older person is much less likely to download it. Schulman said her business, located on W. Main Street, is lucky to have their own parking lot, but others in the area are “struggling” to compete with malls, where patrons don’t have to pay for parking. “Why pick on us?” she said, in regard to the fact that Bay Shore is the only hamlet in the Town of Islip with metered parking. “We’re just coming back.”
Sara O’Sullivan, an employee at Bridal Suite of Bay Shore on W. Main Street, has spoken out against the parking meters numerous times during Islip Town Board meetings. “The first thing we hear from customers when they walk in the door is, ‘What’s going on with the parking meters?’” she said. “It’s unfortunate because it completely changes the tone of the conversation with them.” O’Sullivan also called the app an “insult,” adding that a large amount of their clients are mothers and grandmothers who still have flip phones. Therefore, it’s impossible for them to get the app.
Charles Beitch, owner of Suffolk Printing on W. Main Street, said he’s fine with the meters on the street and by the ferries. It’s the meters in the back lots (where employees park) that present the biggest problem for his business. “It’s unfortunate for the bars and restaurants, though,” he added.
Allison, a bartender at Three Penny Pub on W. Main Street, seemed to confirm Beitch’s sentiments. “We all hate the meters,” she said.
Cochrane acknowledged there would always be an initial, negative reaction when a plan such as this is implemented. “There’s been a lack of history known in Bay Shore,” he said. “Bay Shore used to be metered until the 70s. It’s still in our town code. So reintroducing this, some have taken offense because now their employees who were parking on Main Street now have to go in the back parking lots.”
Cochrane continued by saying Bay Shore is unique in the fact that there are seven new restaurants opening within the next year. “We have 300 apartments between Union Boulevard and Montauk Highway that are in the process of being built in the next couple of years,” he said. “So our parking needs to be managed.” Cochrane added that 62 percent of Bay Shore’s parking is free. “You just have to walk that extra hundred [or so] yards.”
The link for the app is Us.parkmobile.com.
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