Opinion

There has been much written in the Port News over the last few weeks about the proposed Bradley Hotel and parking at the railroad. There is no doubt that a small hotel would be a useful addition to our town. Actually it would be nice to have something the size of a bed & breakfast, but that is another issue. The real question is: Is the proposed location on lower Main Street a good thing? It is clearly not. It will create a traffic nightmare in that spot. Everybody knows this. Even taking away the parking spaces and making a small parking lot will not solve this. Can you imagine what turning into that lot is going to be like, especially waiting to make a left turn?

The town should return to its shared vision initiative and develop a comprehensive master plan for all of the Port Washington business area from Campus Drive all the way to the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club. We should not place something as important as a hotel in a space just because it is there. This is a band-aid approach to things and it has been going on long enough in the town. We as a town are not getting the big picture on the overall impact of things that are done. For example, several years ago new street lighting was installed along most of Main Street. The new lights are directly below or almost directly below the older lights on the utility poles. Why have the old lights not been removed? Why are we, the taxpayers, paying for two sets of street lights to light Main Street 12 hours or more a day, 365 days a year? We can all look at our electric bills and figure out how much this is costing us. We missed an opportunity several years ago as well when Main Street and the sidewalks were being worked on to put the overhead wires underground. The Port Washington BID should be looking at ways to defray the costs to the local business owners and property owners to have their electric services moved underground.

Anyway my point is, is this the best possible location for a hotel which is hoped to act as a magnet to bring other business with it? What is the real effect on the residential housing nearby. What will that traffic really look like? Would we be better off in the long run with such a hotel located at let's say the present site of Inspiration Wharf and relocating those businesses to lower Main Street. Or should this hotel be further up Main Street nearer to the train station?

This brings me to my second point. I must say I am against any multilevel parking. The MTA would want the restriction to Port residents removed as I am sure the town would as well. This structure would be capable of holding more cars than the residents would use. I feel the ultimate reason for this would be to increase the number of Mets fans using the LIRR during and after the construction of the new stadium. I don't think we need to be the park and ride location for this. Rather than multilevel parking let's move the tracks underground and have additional parking on the street level above.

Anything like the building of a hotel and the future of parking has to be part of an overall master plan, that once agreed upon is not changed without the residents approval.

Kevin Hickson


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