Village vies to be better ‘burb

With contest win, a chance to rethink downtown parking


Parking downtown has long been a challenge — but that may soon change.

Rockville Centre is one of four Long Island municipalities that were named winners of the Build a Better Burb: ParkingPLUS Design Challenge, a contest created by the Long Island Index that focuses on innovative parking facility design intended to enhance downtown areas on Long Island.

According to the Index’s press release, each village has been paired with an architectural firm — in Rockville Centre’s case, Utile Inc. of Boston — that will develop parking design plans, free of charge, that are intended to “incorporate needed local amenities and make parking facilities an architectural attraction for downtown areas.”

Representatives of the village, including Mayor Francis Murray, Deputy Mayor Nancy Howard and Village Administrator Keith Spadaro, will work with Utile architects over the next few months to develop plans that will suit the village’s needs while maintaining the visual appeal of the downtown area.

“There are more than 4,000 acres of surface parking lots in and around Long Island’s downtowns, so the opportunity to re-think parking on Long Island is enormous,” said Long Island Index Director Ann Golob. “Imagine how we could better use that space! That’s what these four firms will be doing in order to engage Long Islanders in rethinking the parking potential of our downtown areas.”

According to Murray, three parking structures have been proposed: one behind the police station, another in the lot behind P.C. Richard, and the third in Municipal Parking Field 2, located between North Centre and North Village Avenues. The structures could add up to 600 new spots each — both resident and commuter — and may include additional features, such as an indoor tennis court on the top floor. Commuter parking comes as part of the package, because the Long Island Rail Road is also involved in the contest.

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