New law aimed at parking problems
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According to McKevitt, getting local legislation through the State Legislature is very difficult, and required the cooperation of a number of municipalities. The Assembly’s transportation committee, he said, needed to see multiple studies from the town on the parking problem.
McKevitt said that this was the second-to-last bill passed by the Assembly in its most recent legislative session. “That’s how down-to-the-wire it came,” he said. “… At the end, it takes very little for something to get derailed.”
Initial grass-roots efforts to resolve the problem were spearheaded two years ago by Yvonne Amato, a First Street resident of 31 years. Amato collected 98 signatures on a petition, which she said she brought to Hannon.
Town of Hempstead Councilman Gary Hudes, who represents East Meadow, said that town officials attempted to mitigate the problem by placing No Parking Here to Corner signs on the streets. “But yet, for some unknown reason,” Hudes said, “the employees still insisted on using residential streets for their parking lot.”
NUMC officials even lent a hand, organizing public meetings at the hospital with residents and local elected leaders. “The NUMC certainly did everything they could,” Hudes said.
After a year of little progress, McKevitt and Hannon, with the help of Amato and other residents, began drafting legislation. “This is a great example of cooperation on a number of fronts,” McKevitt said. “Whether it be the residents, the hospital, the town … a lot of people worked together in a common interest to provide for the residents.”
“This was a team effort,” said Amato. “The legislators helped us tremendously, and the residents also participated in making this happen.”
“We can have our community back,” added Donna Rabasco, a Second Street resident for 23 years.