Parking up for discussion, again

Bar/restaurant moratorium never sees traction

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The moratorium on bars and restaurants set by the Village of Patchogue in January of last year, never really went into effect. The pandemic and shutdown, mayor Paul Pontieri said, really created the intended “pause” naturally.

The original idea behind the moratorium proposal, he said, was to force the village to slow the progression of Main Street while also taking a deeper look at the parking issues.

“It just gave us a chance to catch our breath,” he said, also explaining that solutions for parking have been found.

Instead of deck parking, the village has decided to continue to partner with Suffolk County instead to expand the parking lot behind the county court on West Main Street.

The major reason deck parking at the Suffolk County 6th District Court lot was ditched, Pontieri said, is because compared to the number of spots added, the $7 million price tag was just too costly.

Pre-pandemic, Pontieri estimated that of the approximately 2,200 spaces, about 400 to 500 employees utilize about 25 percent of that. With a simple redesign of the lot, a considerable amount of additional parking spaces could be found. The deck parking garage, Pontieri said, would have originally provided about 100 spaces, whereas the expansion of the current lot will add 50 to 60. Currently, the lot features 134 spaces; deck parking would have created 236 and the new proposal 185 to 190.

Pontieri anticipates going out to bid and breaking ground on that project soon, with a 2022 completion. The new project will entail repaving, restriping and expansion, as well as making the road safer and more accessible for the bus.

Patchogue was originally awarded $1 million as part of the county’s jump-start grant over two years ago, as well as a $1 million grant through the New York State Regional Economic Development Council’s Consolidated Funding Program. Both have since been set aside for parking.

“We anticipate next year will be back to normal, which means full parking lots,” added Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy, noting that he hopes to see parking lots expanded sooner rather than later.

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