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Perk for the Jitney

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 19:58

People who leave their vehicles in the Amagansett municipal parking lot to ride the Hampton Jitney are incensed about Town Hall’s plan to eliminate or sharply reduce long-term use of the lot. Having gotten used to the convenience of parking relatively close to the Jitney stop, they are unhappy about losing this perk. However, it is not entirely clear that reserving public parking spaces for users of a private, for-profit service is good policy.

There is no question that parking spaces in Amagansett are scarce. East Hampton Village, which also has a popular Jitney stop, provides free weeklong parking near the Long Island Rail Road station and off Gingerbread Lane. Town-owned parking in Amagansett adds far fewer spaces, putting daily or hourly users in conflict with people who might leave their vehicles in the single lot for up to a week. In Wainscott, there is little to no long-term public parking, and it is more or less the same story in Montauk.

As we have observed before, it is baffling that the town has not taken a more serious look at paid long-term parking. Technology has made self-serve meters ubiquitous in more urban settings, and most residents and visitors are familiar with how they work. If Jitney riders prefer to drive close to the stop — as opposed to calling a taxi or ride-sharing service or leaning on a friend or relative — it seems fair to ask them to pay for the privilege. The money raised could go into the town’s general fund or perhaps even be used to offset the cost of new parking options. Think of that!