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Nov 12, 2019 1:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

The First Stages Of New Parking Meters Coming To East Hampton Village

Nick Morris of LAZ Parking presented to the village board. ELIZABETH VESPE
Nov 14, 2019 12:58 PM

New parking meters — either paid or unpaid — could be coming to East Hampton Village soon, as the Village Board discussed metered ticket machine options offered by a private firm at its meeting on Thursday, November 7.

Whether they’d be paid parking meters is still up for discussion, as this was the board’s first formal and public discussion with LAZ Parking, a parking management service provider and one of the nation’s largest parking companies.

The village is considering installing the meters in the Reutershan, Lumber Lane and Schenck parking lots, but it hasn’t been determined whether they would be paid meters or simply used to keep track of the amount of time a vehicle is parked in the lot, as the current meters do.

LAZ operates over 1 million parking spaces in thousands of locations throughout the United States. The company also provides parking management services for several college campuses, municipalities and residential buildings.

According to Nick Morris, director of business development at LAZ Parking, East Hampton Village Police Chief Michael Tracey and Village Administrator Rebecca Molinaro Hansen have been acting as liaisons in the early stages of the project.

Prices per station range from $42,000 to around $78,000, with yearly maintenance fees ranging from $900 a year to over $6,000 a year. Currently, the board doesn’t have a budget for the project.

“We’ve gone through a lot of these projects and helped villages and townships upgrade their parking and set themselves up for the future,” Mr. Morris told the board.

“Just because you upgrade the pay station doesn’t mean you have to pay for parking,” he added, referring to the over-20-year-old ticket stations the village has in place currently.

Currently, the Reutershan and Schenck lots have a two-hour parking limit. Mr Morris said that, in the future, with new technology, the village would be able to set different time limits for different days, times and months of the year. For example, during the busy summer months, there could be a strict two-hour limit for free parking, with the option of paying for an extra hour.

“Not only will it generate revenue, which is important, but ensure a smooth visitor experience, smooth resident experience, smooth parking experience,” Mr. Morris said.

With new machines, maintenance would be very minimal, he said, explaining that the village workers won’t have to open the machines and insert new paper tickets constantly.

Mr. Morris recommended having two new metered stations set up in the Reutershan lot, one in the Schenck lot, and one in the Lumber Lane lot. The machines could offer either a physical ticket or function digitally, he said.

With digital tickets, the police department would have an interface that would let them know when a person’s metered parking was set to expire. “You may be able to go completely ticketless,” Mr. Morris explained.

Board member Barbara Borsack noted that the meter options Mr. Morris showed the board didn’t look handicap-accessible. “How is somebody in a wheelchair supposed to access the pay station?” Ms. Borsack asked, noting that some of the stations seemed to be too high, and are recommended to be placed in the center of the lots, instead of where they currently are placed, at the entrances.

“I don’t think there are anywhere near enough in either lot,” Ms. Borsack added. “I think you would need three in the Schenck lot. We’re asking people to walk a pretty long distance from where they park to access the machine, and then walk back wherever they want to go shopping. I don’t see this as very user-friendly. Right now, people drive in and are still in their cars.”

Board member Richard Lawler said that in order to make the stations “user-friendly,” they’d need to budget for a considerable amount of money for the addition of multiple stations in each lot and not just four total.

Taking their concerns into consideration, Mr. Morris said the board has two options: to consider the ticket stations placed throughout each lot, where drivers would have to exit their vehicles after finding a spot, then getting a ticket, or in-lane equipment, which they have now.

“It’s so convenient just to pull up next to the ticket machine, get your ticket, and park,” board member Rose Brown said.

Board member Arthur Graham also stressed the need for turnover in the lots during the hectic summer months. He said the board doesn’t want to make it too easy for someone to walk up to a machine and punch their license plate in for an additional two hours right before their time is about to be up.

Mr. Morris said the village can set different rules for each lot, during different times of the year, day and month, adding that police officers would no longer have to chalk tires with the new systems.

He also explained that with new technology and phone applications, police departments and other municipal workers would be able to remotely see if a lot is completely full, or how many spots remain empty.

Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. explained that in the past two years the current machines have been failing. He said their termination dates have long expired. The mayor said this past summer the machines stopped working several times, and the village wants to move into the “new age” of technology.

“Maybe this needs a little more discussion internally,” the mayor finished, as the board and Mr. Morris agreed. Board members Mr. Graham and Ms. Borsack will continue the conversation with LAZ Parking and Mr. Morris.

“This is very much the first stage. It will require consideration of what is the better option,” Mr. Morris said.

“It’s gotta be easy and convenient,” Mr. Graham concluded.

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Using valuable space to store personal vehicles is inefficient and wasteful. 1/3 of all space in cities is dedicated to roads and motor vehicles, and motor vehicles sit idle and unmoving 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time they poison the air while running, and create traffic jams, plus they are responsible for 40,000 fatalities from accidents every year. 60% of all car trips are under 5 miles because of poor urban planning and lack of walking and biking infrastructure, along with poor mass ...more
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Nov 13, 19 9:08 AM
Crazy to spend money on shiny and expensive machines. Stick with the current ones.. simple and effective for 20 years. The cost to replace them must be a small fraction of high-tech ones.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Nov 13, 19 3:27 PM