A bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 31 will give the Town of Hempstead the authority to issue parking permits on residential streets near the Nassau University Medical Center.
Up to now, the town has been unable to restrict parking on public roadways. The new law is designed to prevent NUMC employees and visitors from parking on nearby streets, which has been a major complaint from local residents for two years.
The problem began in June 2011, when engineers deemed the hospital’s parking garage structurally unsound. The garage, which held 780 vehicles, was closed on July 1 of that year, according to Shelley Lotenberg, the hospital’s director of public affairs.
According to Lotenberg, there are 10 free parking lots for employees on NUMC grounds, four reserved lots and a pay lot for visitors. But employees and visitors still crowd residential streets with their vehicles.
Residents complain not only about the traffic congestion, but about excess noise and pollution. “I feel like I live in a parking lot,” said Paula Steele, who has lived on the corner of Second Street and Franklin Avenue for 19 years. “They circle the house. They surround me.”
Lisa Conti, also of Second Street, said her lawn had become a “dumping ground” for soda cans and beer bottles left by people who park nearby. “It’s a disgrace,” she said. “We residents care about our homes, and we hope this new law will keep it clean and safe for everyone.”
The bill was sponsored in the State Senate by Sen. Kemp Hannon, and in the Assembly by Tom McKevitt, both of whom represent East Meadow. It was delivered to Cuomo on July 19.
The law outlines the process for the town’s issuance of parking permits on more than 25 streets. “This bill gives the town the flexibility as to how they want to do it,” Mc-Kevitt explained. “They can still change it … add a street or delete a street.”
‘A great example of cooperation’
“I told them this was going to be an uphill fight,” McKevitt said, recalling his first meeting with residents last summer. “And it was quite the battle.”