By Michael Sorrentino:
The biggest contributor to Patchogue Village’s parking problems is employee parking.
This was mentioned by nearly everyone interviewed by greaterpatchogue.com.
Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri estimates that employees working on and around Main Street take up at least 250 to 275 spots every night.
“That’s 10 percent of our available parking,” Pontieri said.
Pontieri recently met with the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce’s restaurant committee, whose members are all actively trying to figure out a plan that could help move employees to less-popular parking spots, freeing up places for customers during busy nights.
Eric Rifkin — who in addition to owning Bobbique is one of the committee’s chairpersons — said figuring out what to do with employees’ vehicles is paramount.
“I think if you take the employees out of the parking, there is no parking problem,” he said. “We’re working and banging our heads together on how we could monitor our employee parking.”
Rifkin is working with fellow chairperson James Bonnano of The Tap Room on finding a solution, which could potentially make hundreds of more-popular spots easier to grab.
David Kennedy, the chamber’s executive director, said one of the ideas being considered is an employee shuttle that could pick up workers from as close as the parking lots near the Burlington Coat Factory at 196 East Main Street and Bravo Supermarket at 179 South Ocean Ave. — to potentially as far away as a park-and-ride parking lot just off Sunrise Highway.
“There are ancillary lots that are out there, it’s just educating and also making it more user-friendly,” Kennedy said.
Jack Krieger, the village’s deputy mayor and parking commissioner, said the idea is feasible as long as the chamber is able to enforce it.
He said employees are, at times, taking spots before dinner rush times begin, spots which would be better served by customers that would turn them over sooner.
Logistics would be the issue, said Paul Komsic, brewmaster at BrickHouse Brewery.
He said all the restaurants’ different schedules would present a challenge.
With a possible parking garage expensive and far-off, Kennedy said figuring out the employee parking situation is the stakeholders’ immediate focus.
Ideally, he said, plans would be in place by the spring.
That’s when it’s busiest time of year begins.
Look out for Part 3: Tackling concerns with parking around the holidays