Friday, 04 December 2009 00:00
In the Nov. 19 Port Washington News, an article that began on Page 1 and concluded on Page 42 was dedicated to Councilman Fred Pollack’s point-of-view and reasoning regarding parking in Port. Whether one supports or opposes tiered parking, I believe we should find various parts of the councilman’s reasoning disturbing. He begins by saying that in 2005 (yes- 4 years ago) almost 1,000 residents almost unanimously supported tiered parking, and then eventually concludes that he is looking for a consensus. In politics, there is rarely a consensus about anything, so I guess that is a good way of opposing anything!
Then the councilman continues explaining why it is clear that there is a “documented need for additional parking for commuters, merchants and shoppers.” He even goes so far as to say that both commuters and merchants constantly complain about the parking situation. The councilman correctly discusses the stress this puts on both existing merchants’ ability to succeed, and for landlords to attract new merchants to the numerous vacant storefronts. The councilman highlights several recommendations that each seem to have certain major flaws in the reasoning. (A) He discusses parking district permits and abuses. That’s fine, but he shows no evidence of substantiation nor how the procedure can realistically be changed. (B) He discusses creating additional parking spaces, and then says reconfiguration at the Vanderventer lot could create additional commuter spots (he actually says six!). He then speaks about reconfiguration of all lots as if magically that will substantially address the challenge! He talks about the possibility of purchasing land available for new lots in several locations. That would really make Port more attractive – a number of additional lots in a variety of areas? In addition, what he fails to mention is that once these lots are purchased, they come off the tax rolls (guess what that means?) And are we to believe that the town will be any more efficient with these lots than with the property they purchased a few years ago to help alleviate the lower Main St/ Shore Road congestion, and nothing has yet been built, although Councilman Pollack has stated that bids have gone out and he expects the project to go forward after the bids are received by the end of the year. The councilman’s assurance that this project will be going forward in the near future depends on one’s evaluation of the time span. Is it really a sign of efficiency that it has taken this long for us to finally be getting to this place (in the meantime, traffic conditions at that section appear to have deteriorated (C) He discusses a free shuttle system around Port to the station, and explains it would cause additional taxes and/or fees. But does he really believe that in inclement or cold weather, most commuters are going to want to wait outside for a shuttle? And he does not mention the flaws in the system, such as schedule, etc., where some people might have to be picked up very early to make a train (this is somewhat reminiscent to one of the major complaints and objections Schreiber students have to the buses that pick them up so early, and thus these buses are underutilized). He also discusses having a professional engineer examine the situation (is it just me or how many times have we seen our government hire consultants and how much the costs are?) (D) Discusses carpooling and giving an incentive in one lot for carpooling. How would that be enforced and paid for, and how much abuse would that create? He even goes so far as to say it would be an incentive because by carpooling we could save by sharing the $1 per day parking fee (What would we save- 50 cents?). (E) He speaks about Revere Road and Mertz Plaza adding potential parking to Port Boulevard merchants—- but I am sure that is not thrilling to either the residents who live near Revere, or the present and future merchants at Mertz Plaza!
The plan still does not address the major issues of parking related to the stores on Main Street, where the lack of parking and its impact on traffic is causing havoc to that commercial area, nor does the plan realistically address parking at the LIRR for commuters. Politicians often wonder why the public sentiment is so anti-politician—- it is things like these well-intentioned but meaningless proposals by our councilman, who by the way, by opposing it in front of the town board, effectively terminates any realistic proposal. And this is after four years! It is time for us to tell our politicians the famous line from the movie Network, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”