A parking shortage in downtown Riverhead is hurting merchants, according to some members of the Riverhead Town Board and Business Improvement District Management Association.
For the first time since 1997, the Town Board has discussed bringing back metered parking. Meters could be installed downtown and possibly even in parking lots north and south of Main Street. The funds generated could be used to build a parking garage in the lot north of the former Woolworth building, officials have said.
A multi-story, 1,000-car parking garage estimated to cost more than $20 million, was proposed for the northern parking lot several years ago by Apollo Real Estate Advisors. A similar plan proposed by Vintage Square for Railroad Avenue never materialized.
Supervisor Sean Walter has urged councilmen Tim Hubbard and John Dunleavy to schedule meetings with BIDMA and the state Department of Transportation to discuss the issue further. Modern-day meters are more high-tech than those used in 1997. Payment can now be made in the form of credit cards and even via cellphone.
How do you feel about proposed parking meters?
“I think it’s a horrible idea. We are very cognizant of parking at the Suffolk Theater. We try not to park in front during shows, but on nights when they’re talking about things like ‘Alive on 25’ and other events, they will probably suspend [metered parking] like they do in other towns.”
Clutch Reilly, director of production, Suffolk Theater
“I guess the Town Board knows what’s best for the town. I know they’re just putting up a new apartment building down there, so that’s going to need parking and it might get crazy. But if they have parking meters, it might detract from business.”
“I think they definitely should [install parking meters] because then you have your time limits.”
James Fahnestock, Southampton