Representatives from Vision Long Island submitted their first draft for a parking analysis in the area of the Regal movie theater to the Lynbrook village board on Sept. 18.
In the draft, VLI consultants concluded that there is sufficient parking for the movie theater, which is under construction on Merrick Road, near Atlantic Avenue. The theater is expected to fully launch by mid-February and will likely open for one day in December to show a holiday-themed movie, according to village officials.
When it does open, representatives from VLI are confident there will be sufficient parking. “The theater fits very well in your current parking situation,” Elissa Kyle, Vision Long Island’s planning director, told the board.
VLI was established in Northport almost 20 years ago and promotes more livable, sustainable and environmentally responsible growth on Long Island.
To conduct the analysis, Kyle and Eric Alexander, the director of VLI, examined the parking lots near the theater and compared them to other downtown movie theaters in Rockville Centre, Glen Cove and Huntington. They observed the amount of people entering and exiting the theaters at various times, including on the opening night of “War for the Planet of the Apes” and “IT,” and went to Huntington on a night when there was a concert at a nearby venue.
After about three months of these observations, Kyle and Alexander concluded that the parking situation in Lynbrook is akin to the ones in these communities that have sufficient parking. This is because people leave their parking spots regularly, there are more options to take ride-sharing services and because there is a similar distance from the theater to the parking lots.
“It’s not always right there,” Alexander told the Herald about available parking. “There is a walkability aspect.”
At the meeting, Alexander said that Nassau County would have to make some improvements to the area to make it easier for pedestrians to cross Merrick Road. The enhancements include making the lanes narrower and adding countdown timers for pedestrians to cross.
“This will all work if it’s comfortable to walk,” Alexander said.
Kyle and Alexander also told village officials to raise the prices of the metered spaces to encourage people to move their cars and to adapt acceptable parking times and add signs to let people know where they can and cannot park.
“There’s actually a tremendous amount of traffic generated from people driving around,” Kyle told the board, adding that the traffic pattern may be confusing for non-residents.
Parking has been a concern because the new theater is larger and will not have a parking lot like the old building, which had 51 parking spaces and was bulldozed in 2016. The VLI study is the third such examination into Lynbrook’s parking situation. Village officials ordered a study before construction began, and Regal conducted a second one. Both determined that there is adequate on-street parking and in the lots of surrounding stores, most of which will be vacant during peak movie hours when the businesses are closed.
Similarly to the VLI study, Regal’s examination included a visit to the Westbury Theater on a Saturday at 8 p.m. to see the number of cars that filled the parking lot. The study determined that the theater was 80 percent occupied, and based on that, Regal applied the 80 percent to the Lynbrook movie theater to calculate how many parking spaces would be needed.
At the September meeting, village officials requested Kyle and Alexander to file another report that would detail which signs would be helpful at which intersections. Those recommendations were expected to be filed within the next month.