Riverhead Town, consultants again considering parking garage for downtown Riverhead

Riverhead Town is still considering a parking garage in the first Street parking lot downtown, officials said at a work session Thursday. But before any plan can move ahead they aim to assess how big it should be and just how much it will cost.

It’s the first time in four years town officials have publicly discussed this solution to the downtown parking problem and they said the issue has only been exacerbated since then.

One thing officials suggested Thursday is that it be designed to look like a house and not your typical parking garage.

“We were at a point this spring where there were so many projects being contemplated or worked on it was like traffic on Main Street, it was everywhere,” said consultant Barry Long of Urban Design Associates.  “Step one is really listening again.”

Mr. Long said they received many ideas from the public on the Town Square website, which had more than 8,000 responses. “Step two is sorting through all that information,” he added.

Inputing the town’s recommendations for downtown is the third step, he said.

Mr. Long said the town also needs to pick the best flood mitigation strategy for downtown, specifically “one that doesn’t cut out downtown from the river.” 

Urban Design Associates is the consulting firm the town has hired to work on downtown planning issues, including the Town Square. Additionally, Mr. Long is working with Phil Myrick, the CEO of Projects for Public Spaces. Mr. Myrick describes himself as an advisor to planning and development projects around the world, helping to create “vibrant public spaces.” He said he’d like to help the town “uncover its brand.”

“It’s a privilege to be here at a time like this,” Mr. Myrick said to the Town Board. “I’m excited and I know you guys must be really excited.