COPIAGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Copiague is the only stop on the LIRR‘s Babylon line where parking is entirely free.
That explains the license plates, permits and stickers on vehicles parked legally at the station there: Connecticut, California, Oyster Bay, Islip, Brightwaters, Amityville… out of town permits in red and blue hanging from mirrors, including one from an Air Force base.
“They’re coming to Copiague because they can’t find a spot anywhere in their towns,” commuter Mary Tumminia told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
For residents and non-residents alike, Babylon is the LIRR’s busiest line, with 64,000 daily commuters.
“A lot of people take up the parking spaces, even if they don’t take the train,” said commuter Walter Thevanayagan.
Copiague’s nearby business district is seeing a resurgence, and the revitalization is contributing to parking nightmares, McLogan reported.
“The residents have come to us and said ‘Hey, town, can you come up with a parking plan that will address the parking issues down in Copiague,'” said Babylon Town Attorney Joseph Wilson.
The permit proposal has been submitted to the MTA that would cost $30-$65 a year for residents and $150-$700 a year for non-residents. There are 760 spaces.
Resident Maryann Howell predicts even more clogged residential streets.
“I’m concerned about my mother because she lives on the block north of the railroad and people are already parking in front of her house,” Howell said.
“They’re just going to park down the side streets and make it worse for people who live near here,” said resident Loretta Formes.
“It could be up to $700 for you now, coming from Amityville and parking here,” McLogan said to out-of-town LIRR commuter Eline Fleury.
“Exactly, I mean, that is a lot of money,” Fleury said.
Many locals told McLogan they like the idea, one telling her “I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all.”
Officials will not issue new free 2019 residential parking permits. The 2018 permits will remain while the Town of Babylon awaits the pay-to-park approval from the MTA.
From free to fee could begin by early summer.