COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Many cars and not enough parking spaces—it’s a problem all too familiar to railroad commuters. Now, some are paying a hefty price for trying to solve it on their own.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, commuters are squeezing their cars into nooks and crannies at the Cold Spring Harbor train station; they park on the grass, on curbs and invent spaces because by 8 a.m., all the legal spots are long gone.
“It’s impossible,” one commuter said.
“It’s terrible, and the pressure of seeing your train pull in and not seeing a spot,” another told CBS2.
And now, pile on another headache—parking tickets. Notes on some of the cars’ dashboards plead, “Please don’t give me another ticket!”
Lee Certilman has racked up two $175 tickets and is furious he spends $75 on an annual parking permit from the Town of Huntington and can’t find a parking space.
“You wouldn’t have a movie theater selling 600 tickets when there are only 400 seats,” Certilman said.
It’s not just in Cold Spring Harbor. The railroad parking crunch is region-wide.
A solution isn’t simple, Gusoff reported, as the LIRR doesn’t have jurisdiction over many parking lots, the local municipality does, and many are simply out of space.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says improved railroad parking must be a priority.
“In order to achieve sustained economic growth, we need to get more mass transit and parking is one of the biggest challenges we face without question,” he said.
So why do many towns balk at the idea of building up with multistory garages?
“They’re very, very expensive. The ones you see here in Huntington were put up with federal money. I don’t think that money is available anymore,” Town of Huntington Spokesman A.J. Carter said.
Huntington officials offer those shut out of Cold Spring Harbor the option of parking at three other train stations, but that adds time to an already long commute. Riders say they want to be able to park at their local stop.
The LIRR Commuter Council is calling on the railroad to meet with town supervisors to take on the issue regionally.
A spokesman says the LIRR is committed to expanding parking, but it’s up to towns and villages to initiate those plans.
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