As soon as dawn breaks on typical weekday mornings, the race is on for a parking spot in the lot at the Merrick Long Island Rail Road station. Within a few hours, the lot is full, and many commuters have missed their chance. That’s the way it’s been for decades in Merrick.
But Town of Hempstead board members hope the measure they passed Tuesday will begin to ease the bottleneck. The board voted to implement permit parking at the train station, reserving 215 parking spaces east of Hewlett Avenue, on the south side of the train tracks, for town residents who purchase permits. Non-town residents will be barred from parking in these spaces from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays, except for holidays.
The permit parking will take effect on April 1. Permits will cost $3, and go on sale on March 1. They will be available to all town residents, regardless of whether they live in incorporated villages or unincorporated hamlets, according to town spokesman Mike Caputo. The town stated in a press release that residents can call (516) 812-3513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about obtaining the permits.
“We invite Town of Hempstead residents to ‘get on track’ and in a parking space at the Merrick Long Island Rail Road station,” Town Supervisor Kate Murray said in the release. “With 215 spaces reserved exclusively for town residents through this pilot permit parking program, we are confident that there will be increased parking opportunities for local commuters.”
Claudia Bresanovich, of Bellmore, needed little convincing. Would she be willing to pay $3 for a permit? “Three dollars? Absolutely,” she said Tuesday morning at the Merrick LIRR station. “Are you kidding me?”
Not everyone agreed, however. Atsuko Ishikawa, of Merrick, waved off the notion of permit parking as she ascended the stairs to the Merrick LIRR station platform Tuesday morning. “Absolutely not,” she said. “Property taxes are already high enough.”