After exploring other potential locations and considering suggestions and concerns from residents, which ranged from don't build anything to build even bigger, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto announced that the town will build a new, state-of-the-art, parking garage on the site of the demolished Hicksville facility located at the corner of Duffy Avenue and Newbridge Road.
In a new development, the town is looking into building a significant portion of the garage underground, thereby reducing the visual impact of the previous four-level, above-ground structure. The new, high-tech structure will accommodate approximately 1,400 vehicles - the same as the previous facility.
"The debate can no longer be as simple as either build it as it was, build it bigger, or don't build it at all," Venditto said. "A new alternative was needed, one which balances the needs of commuters who are dependent on the LIRR, with the concerns of Hicksville residents and the impact a parking garage has on their everyday quality of life."
The supervisor said that the town will bid this proposal in two ways, in order to determine the engineering and economic feasibility of building a new four-story facility with a significant portion below ground, as opposed to building it above-ground, as the last garage was.
During the course of the many meetings that the town held with nearby homeowners and commuters and together with the vast communication forwarded to the town regarding this issue, countless suggestions have been brought forth on a myriad of issues, including size, location, and appearance of a new garage. If feasible, constructing a significant portion of the structure below ground would alleviate some of the concerns of residents regarding the dense appearance the former structure had on the downtown area. Going below ground could also provide a natural sound barrier and would shield nearby residents from a variety of potential intrusions, including noise, pollution and bright car headlights.
"The Hicksville train station is at a critical location, right in the heart of the Town of Oyster Bay," Venditto said. "We recognize that commuters rely on obtaining a parking space to get to work. This alternative, if feasible, meets their needs while balancing the concerns of nearby residents."
The town is hopeful that the project will be ready to go out to bid this summer, with construction anticipated to get under way in the fall.
"The issue of the Hicksville Parking Garage has been greatly discussed and debated, with many suggestions and concerns brought to the town by local residents most directly impacted by the presence of the structure, and by commuters who use the facility every day," Venditto said. "After carefully and thoroughly considering and reviewing all of the facts and circumstances presented, my Town Board colleagues and I feel that the best solution is to rebuild in place, a solution that fairly balances the needs of all involved."
In an effort to continue accommodating commuters, while demolition of the existing garage and construction of the new garage takes place, the town will continue to provide parking at the Broadway Mall, located on the west side of Broadway (Routes 106/107) and the Sears parking lot, located on the east side of Broadway (Routes 106/107) in Hicksville. In addition, the town has continued to provide the use of shuttle buses, which operate to and from the Broadway Mall and Sears during peak commuter hours. Parking/shuttle bus use at Broadway Mall is available from 5-7:30 a.m. and 4-9 p.m.; parking/shuttle bus use at Sears is available from 7:30-9 a.m. and 4-9 p.m. Parking is available Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
A Town of Oyster Bay parking permit is required to use the commuter parking areas at both the Broadway Mall and Sears. Visit www.oysterbaytown.com for more information and additional parking locations.
"We realize that the closing of this garage has inconvenienced some commuters, but I believe that by moving forward in this manner we are taking the best measures to satisfy the needs of all residents affected by this structure every day," Venditto said.
In addition to the parking spaces secured at Broadway Mall and Sears, the town has a number of other existing parking facilities in downtown Hicksville that offer commuter parking in designated spaces. A Town of Oyster Bay Parking Permit is required to park in those facilities, which are listed on the town's website. Any new information pertaining to the Hicksville Parking Garage will be posted at www.oysterbaytown.com as it becomes available.