Bay Shore chamber doubles down with parking meter petition
BAY SHORE—The Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce is, once again, calling on Islip Town officials to remove the parking meters from Bay Shore’s downtown area. The chamber recently began circulating a petition against the “unjust” parking meter program, which began more than a few years ago.
“Remember Bay Shore is the only hamlet in the Town of Islip with meters,” the petition reads. “Only our commuters must pay to park at the train station! Only our Bay Shore employees must pay to go to work!”
The petition argues that if residents have to live with these parking meters, the revenue should go to Bay Shore, not the town general fund.
The parking meter program brought in more than $900,000 in revenue for the town’s general fund in 2016 and 2017, according to the chamber. From Jan. 1, 2018 to Sept. 23, 2018, meter revenues were $652,000, the chamber adds.
The petition claims that if you were to add October and November 2018 revenues, along with ticket and violation fines, the profits would again be close to or over $900,000 put into the general fund. The petition adds: “Bay Shore has become Islip Town’s CASH COW!”
The chamber notes that supervisor Angie Carpenter and councilmembers John Cochrane and Mary Kate Mullen are seeking reelection in the upcoming November elections. “They have refused to recognize the unfairness of this meter program and they have chosen to do nothing to right this situation,” the petition reads.
“The town was lying to us when they forced a meter program on Bay Shore in 2016 that hurt our small businesses financially, that inconvenienced our residents, that has altered our quality of life,” the notice continues.
Tom Owens, commissioner of the Department of Public Works, said, “The parking management program in Bay Shore was the result of many conversations with business owners, who were seeking a solution to the long-standing problem of employees and ferry customers controlling preferred parking spaces along Main Street and other convenient locations within the hamlet.”
Owens also said the town has been “very flexible, working with the chamber and community organizations to waive parking fees during street fairs, holidays and festivals.” He added that the revenue generated from the program has enabled the town to “improve the quality of life for all in the hamlet.”
Owens lists improved drainage, traffic-calming measures, sidewalks, decorative street lighting, paving and the creation of bike lanes along the Maple Avenue corridor. He also noted that the town recently completed a significant project at the Bay Shore Marina, which included replacing bulk heading, lighting and electrical work, along with reopening the docks to the public.
“The marina project will be completed this fall,” Owens said, adding that the town also replaced the Bay Shore Marina playground and recently installed new equipment, including a zipline and added ADA sidewalks.
Cochrane previously told this publication, in the article “Parking meter protest,” which ran on Oct. 26, 2017, that “people don’t want to look at the big picture.”
In other reports, Cochrane stated that revenue created by the parking meters can’t stay in Bay Shore because the town’s general fund bought the equipment for the program. The councilman also explained that keeping the revenue in Bay Shore would require the establishment of a parking district and he is opposed to creating a new taxing district within the township.
Meters were first installed on Maple Avenue in 2015. More were added at the Bay Shore Marina and train station the following year. Main Street saw installations in November 2017, while the downtown’s back parking lots were metered last April.
There were also plans to install parking meters along Main Street in Islip, but those were scrapped last year. The plans also included installing meters at the train stations in Great River, Islip, Oakdale and Sayville.
The Bay Shore Chamber filed a lawsuit in November against Islip Town over the parking meters. The petition says that town attorneys have “made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit” and rejected the chamber’s attempts to “sit down and discuss a settlement.”
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