Six days ago Steve Ritea along with Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday broke the news that the parking garage located at the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)’s Hicksville station will be closed indefinitely. Here is his full report:
Be warned, motorists who use the four-level parking garage in Hicksville near the Long Island Rail Road Station.
You can’t park there today — or until further notice.
The 1,400-space garage, owned by the Town of Oyster Bay, was closed indefinitely Tuesday afternoon after a town worker spotted a crack in a structural support beam, officials said.
Town officials said motorists instead can park in Broadway Mall’s southwest lot, and shuttle service to and from the train station will be provided weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. until further notice.
Also, normal street parking restrictions will be lifted within a half-mile radius of the LIRR station, although drivers cannot park in spaces for the handicapped without the proper permit or in front of fire hydrants.
“No one has indicated any danger of an immediate collapse,” Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto said of the garage, which was built in 1971. “In the interest of everyone’s safety … the garage will be closed until further notice.”
Tuesday afternoon and evening, most commuters who returned to the garage to retrieve their vehicles were allowed to walk in and drive out on their own. Those who had parked in about 120 spots near the cracked beam, however, waited as their vehicles were driven out of the garage by a town employee as a precaution, with the vehicle turned over to the owner outside the garage.
“What took them so long to find out there were structural problems here when thousands of commuters leave their cars here every day?” asked Nancy Sherman, 48, of Jericho, holding a flier that explained the garage’s closure. She said she uses the lot when she takes the train into the city for her job with a pharmaceutical company.
Walking toward the garage to retrieve her car, she said, “We pay a lot of taxes. Where is it going if not to ensure our safety?”
Commuter Frank Nieves, 43, of Hicksville, wondered where he’ll park today before catching the train into the city for his job as a real estate manager.
“I don’t know what I’ll do,” he said. “I guess I’ll figure out a way.”
Venditto said cars not removed last night would be allowed to stay in the garage until their owners return. No one will be towed, he vowed.
The garage, at Newbridge Road and Duffy Avenue, provides roughly 20 percent of the parking spaces around the LIRR’s Hicksville station.
Venditto said the crack was found in the overnight hours of Monday into yesterday, when a town maintenance worker walking through the garage to pick up debris noticed the crack in a concrete-and-steel T-beam on the eastern side of the third level. The worker notified his supervisors.
Engineers were called in and recommended that the garage be closed until repairs could be completed.
Parking in the garage, which includes a basement level, ground level and two upper levels, is allowed by permits issued by the Town of Oyster Bay.
James Nizza, 39, of Melville, said he got a LIRR notification on his BlackBerry about the garage’s closure while heading home from the city, where he works as an insurance analyst.
“I’m not surprised. This garage has been falling apart for years, but I’m shocked that it’s an emergency situation now,” he said. “People will be irate … . It’s going to be chaos.”
xoxo Transit Blogger