Tags Posts tagged with "Barnum Parking Lot"

Barnum Parking Lot

File photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

The Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees held a public meeting on Monday, Aug. 15, to explore various issues related to parking, public spaces and upcoming programs.

Parking

Kevin Wood, the parking and mobility administrator, gave an hour-long presentation to the board on the state of parking in Port Jefferson. Wood was delighted to report that the addition of 25 parking spaces on Barnum Avenue has increased the village’s parking capacity for the first time in decades.

“By building that Barnum parking lot and dedicating those 25 spaces, we came up about 8% on managed parking,” he said.

Despite added capacity, conflict over space persists. Wood reported a recent physical altercation over a parking space, which he considered informative in seeing “how people value parking so much.”

Wood said his department has implemented new technologies to alleviate competition over spots. Today, over 70% of metered parking is done digitally using cellphones. Currently, the village uses 11 meters with over 100 QR-code touchpoints for its metered parking.

“If somebody actually wants to use a meter, they still can, but we keep pushing the pay-by-cell,” Wood said, adding that digitally metered parking has generated revenue for the village and has facilitated the payment process.

With regards to public safety, Wood reported that there are now security cameras covering all parking lots in the village 24/7. He also discussed the possibility of further modernization of parking through automatic license plate reading, which he considers a more efficient way to handle parking.

Wood believes that as the activities at the Village Center expand, there will be a greater need to direct out-of-town visitors on how to find parking options.

“I can’t create parking spaces where they don’t exist, but I really feel that … we should have a dedicated person just to help part time to be out on the street by the Village Center when there’s an event,” he said.

Trustee reports

Mayor Margot Garant reported that the board has entered into deliberations with members of the Masonic Lodge located on Main Street to potentially acquire that property. The Freemasons are interested in deeding the property to the village, according to the mayor.

Motivating this transfer of the property is the Freemasons’ desire to preserve the historic character of the building and to promote community-minded use of the facilities there, she added. For these reasons, Garant advocated converting the lodge into a theatrical education studio used almost exclusively for those purposes.

Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden, the trustee liaison to the planning department, reported that during a recent meeting of the Port Jeff Planning Board, some members expressed concerns over plans for the Six Acre Park. Relaying the comments of the members in attendance, Snaden said: “They’re looking for, in a nutshell, more of an active-type park. They’re concerned about the density of the apartments uptown, how many more bodies are up there and the need for active space.”

Responding to these comments, Garant said that a grant search has already been conducted and that one grant under consideration “would be perfect” for moving forward “with the plan as we have adopted for the Six Acre Park.”

“Put it in a memo or make it part of some other formal presentation to us because the Board of Trustees has adopted the vision presented and I think we’re pretty firm on that,” the mayor advised the Planning Board.

Snaden and trustee Rebecca Kassay both reported their coordinated beautification efforts through the replacement of dead and dying street trees villagewide.

“I walked around and made maps of where all the dead or dying trees are,” Kassay said. “We had a great meeting about the next steps … looking at which native trees might provide color and blossom and things like this.”

Kassay also reported that there will be a free public program for the Beach Street Community Garden on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 6:30 p.m. 

Trustee Lauren Sheprow reported the progress made toward the new Recreation and Parks Committee. A draft charter for the committee is currently in the works, and Sheprow has already received recommendations for volunteers and is hoping for more in the near future.

The Board of Trustees will reconvene Tuesday, Sept. 6, for a public meeting at 5 p.m. at Village Hall.

by -
0 1677
Photo by Julianne Mosher

The long-awaited Barnum Avenue parking lot has officially opened, and it is something the village has never seen before. 

“This is a unique lot,” said Mayor Margot Garant. “This is the first lot in 50 years that we’ve added to the village.”

The new 32,000-square-foot lot includes 46 new spaces oriented diagonally, including two handicap spots and two EV charging stations. It’s a free municipal lot with a one-way entrance, to help alleviate traffic congestion. 

Located east of the Joe Erland baseball field, an old, vacant building was once located on the property. Deemed an eyesore, it was a several-year-long process to remove the building, clean it up and turn it into a free municipal lot that is futuristic in its amenities. 

“People think it’s just pavement and drawing lines,” Garant said. “But this is 70% technology — everything is cloud-based with new technology.”

Photo by Julianne Mosher

And that’s part of a pilot program the village board approved, with the goal to improve the ability to find parking. In April, the Parking Logix counting system will be installed at the Barnum lot to assist residents and visitors in giving them a real-time counting and management system. 

Kevin Wood, the village’s parking and mobility administrator, said the counter will be able to show drivers how many spots are available in the lot before they even pull in. 

“I had always taken notice of parking anxiety,” he said. “It’s a real thing … people get worried thinking, ‘Am I going to find a spot?’ People fighting for spots, this takes a little of the edge off.”

And that’s just part of it. The parking lots within the village will continue using QR reader technology through Honk Mobile to help people pay from their vehicles, not need to search for quarters and reduce touch points on meters in a pandemic world. 

“We’re way ahead of the curve on that,” Wood said. “We had instituted it before COVID. You don’t have to visit a meter; you can be in your car and shoot the QR from your window and pay in your car.”

Wood said that the last month visitors were required to pay for parking was in November, and 55% of the transactions were paid for through this new technology. 

He added that the QR reader in the Barnum lot will be used to track how long people park in their spots when they check in, and hopes that business owners will encourage staff to utilize the space. 

There will be no overnight parking (from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m.) in the Barnum lot, Garant said. “Code is going to enforce that.”

The only things remaining, along with the counter, is the additions of bioswales bordering the foot entrance on Barnum Avenue to aid in flood mitigation. Once constructed, the bioswales will look like two dips in the ground with plantings overlaying them, and a brand-new sign will be installed at the Joe Erland field. 

A ribbon cutting is planned in the upcoming weeks.

by -
0 1451
The parking lot along Barnum Avenue in Port Jeff is finally coming together. Photo by Kyle Barr

The long awaited Barnum Parking lot finally has shovels in the ground.

Crews started digging up the trees and other shrubs at the corner of Caroline Avenue and Barnum Avenue Aug. 25. The full construction process is expected to take around two months, weather permitting.

The new parking lot includes 46 new spaces oriented diagonally. There is planned to be a one-way ingress and egress onto Caroline Avenue. The site plans show the 32,000-square-foot lot will also include two bioswales bordering the entrance onto Barnum Avenue to aid in flood mitigation. The bioswales will look like two dips in the ground with plantings overlaying them.

The village also plans to include two electric vehicle charging stations just like the two currently in the parking lot next to Rocketship Park. Costs for the charging are paid by the vehicle owner through the Chargepoint app.

Parking and Mobility Administrator Kevin Wood said there will be screening in the form of thick bushes on the south side that will line the entire parking area facing south.

“We are also working on a design that will let the parker know how many spots are available before they even drive into the lot via a small digital system,” Wood said. 

The $814,069 project is funded in part by $200,000 in Suffolk County Jumpstart grant money. The rest comes from a $300,000 bond and $314,069 in parking funds set aside for this project.

In February, Connecticut-based F&F Concrete won the bid against five other companies to create the new parking lot.

by -
0 2764
File photo by Kevin Wood

Port Jefferson officials say the village’s new contactless parking kiosks have already shown increased usage in the short time the program has been active.

Port Jeff has been using Honk, a contactless parking payment company, since July 1. The company allows customers to pay for parking in two ways, one by downloading the phone app and the other by tapping their phone or scanning a barcode on a HonkTAP station. 

In a release, the app company said that last week, 1,227 people tapped to pay for parking. Kevin Wood, the village’s parking and mobility administrator, said the tap action accounted for 43% of total parking sessions last week as well. Wood added that the amount of growth they’ve seen so far was primarily because an app is not needed to pay.

“The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the need for digitized, touch-free parking payments,” Wood said. “Usage has skyrocketed and our help center has received very positive feedback.”

The technology also allows an option for drivers to receive text reminders when their parking session is set to expire and to add more time to their spot remotely. 

“We’re proud to partner with Port Jefferson, and to help provide a safe, welcoming experience for visitor parking,” said Michael Back, Honk President and CEO in a release. “It’s never been more important for tourist destinations like Port Jefferson to offer easy, touch-free parking payments.”

The village sees an average of 250,000 visitor parking sessions a year, and parking in the village’s more than 600 spots has become one of the most hot button issues for the community, both residents and businesses. The village is planning to soon start construction on a new parking lot on Barnum Avenue next to Caroline Avenue to add 44 new spots. That project is expected to cost a total of $814,069, with an existing $300,000 bond, $200,000 grant and $314,069 in parking funds.

 

by -
0 1407
Port Jefferson Village Hall. File photo by Heidi Sutton

With nine projects currently on Port Jefferson Village’s plate, the board decided July 20 to put over $2 million worth of beach, road and facility improvements into a 5-year bond anticipation note, known as a BAN, anticipating more surplus and grant funds in the following years.

The nine projects are worth $2,364,216, though all are in various phases of development and the end costs on several could change. With grants and the use of otherwise existing funds, the village anticipates it will need to pay off $1,241,416 over time.

Denise Mordente, the village treasurer, said a BAN is a 5 year loan that has lower interest rates than a normal bond, with this one being at 1 percent. In that time between when a BAN becomes a bond, the village is anticipating to have paid off significant portions of what they owe through the grant funds or other surpluses.

Projects include:

• $118,562 for the Highland Boulevard retaining wall project

• $519,745 (with a $450,000 grant) for an expansion of Public Works Facility and creation of a emergency command center

• $399,250 for the East Beach retaining wall

• $711,150 (with existing $350,000 bond and $350,000 grant) for Station Street project

• $141,056 (with a $49,000 grant) for Rocketship Park bathroom renovations

• $125,603 (with a $73,800 grant) for Village Hall bathroom renovations

• $180,000 for the Longfellow Road drainage project

• $814,069 (with an existing $300,000 bond, $200,000 grant and $314,069 in parking funds) for Barnum Parking Lot project

• $230,000 for the digitization of planning department records

For this year’s budget, Port Jefferson’s $9,992,565 in appropriations was a 3.19 percent decrease from last year’s total amount. Not only that, but Port Jeff’s settlement with LIPA over the assessed tax value of the Port Jefferson Power Station meant the village will need to raise $6,451,427 from taxes, a near $50,000 increase from last year.

Mayor Margot Garant said in previous years the village has had its surplus carried over from year to year, which has been used to fund these projects, especially when grants often take a significant amount of time before the village can be reimbursed on said projects. This year, with the loss of revenues from the first and second quarters due to the pandemic, the village anticipates much less of that surplus into next year.

“We have a lot of projects in the works, but what we don’t have is a lot of surplus money,” she said during the livestreamed July 20 meeting. “We are three years into the LIPA glidepath and last quarter losing $350,000 due to COVID, we still closed last year’s budget with a surplus, but it’s just not the money we used to have.”

The village is currently working to pay off two other existing bonds, while one other BAN on the village books will be made into a bond this August. That original $1,480,000 BAN was created in 2016 to finance the purchase of a vehicle for the department of public works, renovate Rocketship Park and purchase the dilapidated structure on Barnum Avenue that will soon become a new parking lot. As the BAN becomes a bond, that $1.4 million has been lowered down to $720,000, and will be a 2 percent interest rate. The first payment of $85,000 will be due in 2021.

The two older debt services the village is paying off include a 2011 and 2013 bond with a total outstanding debt of $4,040,000, which are expected to be paid off in 2029. Both of those bonds were refinanced in 2019, which saved the village about $37,000 a year, according to Mordente.

The village currently has an AA bond rating.

The board also tackled the difficult question of potential future staff layoffs due to the loss of funds this year. Trustee Bruce D’Abramo suggested the village makes active strides in its budget and potentially even borrow money to reduce layoffs.

“I would like to see us make up for the projected revenue from the courts, from parking and from the Village Center — I’d like to see us borrow that money and make our 2020-21 budget whole for the rest of the year and not lay any of our good employees off,” D’Abramo said.

Both Mordente, in speaking with the village’s financial advisers, and Village Attorney Brian Egan argued that current municipal finance laws wouldn’t allow for Port Jeff to borrow in that way. 

“Everyone’s in the same boat, they’re up against that same issue,” Egan said, who added the village will monitor bills in Albany that would allow municipalities to gain access to additional funds.

D’Abramo confirmed the village should be thinking about such in the future.

“I would like the board to think about this, so we can keep all of our employees,” he said.

by -
0 1917
The site of the planned parking lot on Barnum Avenue. File photo by Kyle Barr

The Village of Port Jefferson finally has an amount attached to plans for the Barnum Avenue parking lot, coming in lower than had been initially anticipated.

The winning bid for the Barnum parking lot was approved at the Feb. 18 village board meeting, showing Connecticut-based F&F Concrete saying it can do the project at $795,069. The company won out over five separate bids. 

At the same meeting, the board approved the $200,000 in jumpstart grant from Suffolk County that was originally announced last year. Unlike other kinds of grants, Mayor Margot Garant said, the jumpstart funds become immediately available after they are approved.

While all the money is now there for the lot, officials said the village is waiting on the grant to finalize, with the village needing to show before shovels go in the ground.

“Ideally, the village would like the project to start as soon as possible so that the lot would be open for our peak season, but that timing has a few factors to consider including but not limited to the weather, execution of the contract, insurance being satisfactory and all county grant requirements being met,” said Joe Palumbo, the village administrator in an email.

With the grant funds, the village administrator said Port Jefferson will be using approximately $600,000 from parking meter revenue. Garant said the parking capital account currently amounts to $800,000. At the end of every year, unspent revenue from the account that’s not used for salaries and other upkeep ends up in the capital account. 

“We have that money in place,” Garant said.

Though village officials had originally anticipated the project would come in at around $900,000, officials were pleasantly surprised to see the winning bid came in somewhat under that amount. 

The parking lot is expected to contain 44 new spots, located off Barnum Avenue and east of the Joe Erland baseball field. Based on residents feedback, the two-way ingress and egress planned on
Caroline Avenue have been made one-way. Surrounding plantings have also been bolstered, but the 32,000-square-foot lot will still include two electric car charging stations and two bioswales bordering the foot entrance onto Barnum Avenue to aid in flood mitigation. Once constructed, the bioswales will look like two dips in the ground with plantings overlaying them. Port Jefferson grant writer Nicole Christian had said those plantings and green initiatives were a large reason the county provided the village the $200,000 grant.