Riverhead Town Board step closer go approving new parking rules on Main Street
The Riverhead Town Board is one step closer to greenlighting new parking rules aimed at freeing up space on Main Street.
The biggest change people would notice right away is that most of Main Street would go from being a two-hour parking zone to a one-hour zone.
Proponents say that would allow customers to quickly get to nearby businesses, but some worry it would also make parking more difficult in other areas.
Mike Meservey works at Digger's Ales N' Eats, an Irish pub on Main Street in Riverhead.
He says sometimes it's nearly impossible to find parking outside the restaurant — and that could keep some customers away.
“I got to work in the morning and sometimes I can't even find parking. Takeout businesses people can't get spots for takeout, pizza place, our takeout business, anywhere. It's tough,” he says.
To open up more spaces, the Town Board is proposing a one-hour parking limit on most of Main Street down from two hours.
Some especially high traffic areas on Main Street would have a limit of just 15 minutes.
Nearby parking lots and side streets would provide longer term parking, some spots zoned for three hours, others would be unlimited.
Proposed Riverhead Parking Plan
Councilman Tim Hubbard, who spearheaded the plan, says the changes are needed because more people are living downtown.
“We've picked up several new apartment complexes in town over the last couple of years and parking is getting more and more needed, which is a good problem. But we have to address it,” he says.
Deanna Murphy lives in one of the new buildings and relies on the long-term lots to park her car. She fears new regulations might make it more difficult to find a spot at the end of the day.
“I think there would need to be more parking lots for that. Because the people who can't park on Main Street are going to go into these lots and they're already getting hit on pretty heavily,” she says.
Right now, this is still a proposal. The Town Board will hold a public hearing on the issue on Oct. 4 at Town Hall.
The Town Board is also considering building a parking garage in the downtown area. If a garage were to be built, it's not clear if people would need to pay to park there.