Farmingdale Businesses Gripe About Parking

Several merchants want a change in the Main Street parking situation.

Several Farmingdale businesses say they are fed up with downtown parking regulations.

"It is hurting business…we've seen it," said Vicki Blitenthal of , claiming the threat of parking tickets and limited time allowance is deterring customers from spending real time on Main Street.

"[Customers] can't even enjoy themselves…Say you want to get your hair done and the beautician is taking forever. Are you going to have to run out in curlers and move your car?"

Blitenthal and her husband Steve have owned their record store for over 30 years and because they own the building, can park behind their store. However, the morning shuffle of merchants can sometimes be a headache.

"I pull in and sometimes is getting deliveries and I have to ask them to move, or I park elsewhere and move the car later…then I have to close my store, ask customers to wait outside."

Stuff-a-Bagel has had their own parking issues and managers say employees have gotten multiple tickets in one day for parking behind the store. Those who have money for the permit park in the 12-hour spots on Washington Street, but say even with the permit, there are not enough spots there for all employees of each business.

According to the Village Clerk's office, any employee who wishes to get a 12-hour sticker must bring their driver's license and a letter from their boss confirming their employment to Village Hall. There, they will have their license photocopied and pay $25 for a sticker that allows them to park in designated 12-hour spots.

Some employees willing to walk, including Farmingdale Mayor and pharmacist, Ralph Ekstrand, choose to park in the lot on Cornelia Street.

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"I park across the street and I walk -- takes me 30 seconds -- to work," said Ekstrand.

"We've had four studies done in the past three years and all of them say our lots are underutilized," said Deputy Mayor Pat Christiansen.

According to Ekstrand, the smallest lot, Lot 1, behind Stuff-a-Bagel and Whirlin Disc is 96 percent full during the day, while others barely reach 60 percent capacity most of the day.

"The path I walk is well lit and it's safe…People are being lazy," said Ekstrand.

Employees at disagree, however, and will move their cars every three hours in front of the bar rather than park in the bigger lot at night.

"I had a girl who left her makeup case on the front seat and someone broke her window and stole it," said Jessica Fischetti, manager at Croxley's. "They missed the brand new TV she had in her trunk though!…But all that for a makeup case."

"I think it was a way for the town to make money, and I understand that, but go back to the way it was," begged Blitenthal, referring to when each employer got one sticker for their business and was able to park anywhere in the lots, not 12-hour spots.

While many businesses wholly dislike the parking situation, others have accepted it as routine.

"If you get your sticker and you park in the right spot, you won't have a problem," said manager Nancy Cattabiani. "We've been here 26 years and gotten our fair share of tickets. It's not fair to blame the Village. There are more important things to complain about than parking."

Ekstrand said the current system, which promotes the flow of parking and brings a constant influx of cars, is working and does not foresee any changes as of yet.

Sal May 08, 2012 at 11:14 PM
I thought Whirling Disc closed approximately 6 months go!!! How old is this article??
Pam Robinson (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 02:22 AM
She was there today. I was there last week.
John Dugan May 09, 2012 at 12:55 PM
The parking code enforcement needs to be seriously re thought. It has become abrasive , overbearing and very unwelcoming for shoppers, merchants and staff and residents. Let's be frank in our dialogue. This is about revenue not traffic management . Let's call it what it is. The Village government should focused on how to bring"more" cars to town , not discourage arrivals. Also , does the Village government really have a compelling interest in my inspection sticker being a few days over or not? Does that affect the parking situation? Responding to concerns over safety after dark, iis the Village going to pay for a constant police presence to insure the safety of people parking in the more remote areas of the "approved" lots? Intelligent parking management and traffic needs to be, but more creative and consumer friendly ways of dealing with the issue needs to be explored. Revenue sources are necessary but not punitive taxation. All this said, I do have alot of confidence in the current administration and I think all village stake holders encourage them to look at this issue more closely and creatively ..
TD182 May 09, 2012 at 03:19 PM
We are business owners in Farmingdale. We have had more than our fair share of issues with parking tickets. Not only are my employees and myself constantly getting ticketed for every issue under the sun, but my customers are also suffering. I have had many customers tell me they are no longer coming to my business in Farmingdale because of the ticketing. With that said, I usually pick up the brunt of paying for their ticket because it is simply not fair. Last year alone I paid over 200 tickets, it is ridiculous. It is more than just a way of revenue for some of the code inforcers, they watch you park, then as soon as your out of sight they start writing the ticket- I witness it nearly every day. There was an employee of a neighboring buisness whose inspection was up, and every single day for 2 weeks he got a ticket (10 tickets in total) it was a joke, the ticketing code enforcers have become vengeful. For a town whose Main Street is drying up, they should be doing everything they can to accommodate the customers that come in as well as the thriving businesses like myself which are very scarce these days.
Steve Blitenthal May 09, 2012 at 03:30 PM
To Sal, When the article about Whirlin' Disc was written in Dec. 2011, we had told the writer that we were going to close the brick & mortar store AFTER we sold the building. She left that out of the article. Please note that we are STILL on Main Street. When we do leave Main Street we will notify Farmingdale Patch. We will still be in business, just doing mail order from our home you can always check our website at www.whirlindisc.com for any info. Steve & Vicki
Mel May 09, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I think Ekstrand is a little heavy handed in his thinking in terms of his thinking as to people are lazy.Does that pertain to handicap parking as well in terms of close proximity to the stores? If people are inconvenienced in regards to parking,they will not frequent our Main st.As it is Farmingdale has a bad reputation with regards to the parking situation.Let parking be unlimited for all parking and show out of towners we want them to shop in our little town.I really think that ticketing is a big revenue producer rather than control the parking situation.
Beth May 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I happen to agree with John Dugan, current administration is competent and open minded. I for one, do avoid town and parking more often than I would like. Going into the village and risking getting a ticket is just not worth the extra expense. For instance, I did not realize my front plate was missing, I received a ticket. So my delicious Gino's pizza just cost $60 instead of $15. We need to welcome visitors to Main Street....it has become more beautiful but honestly, I drive thru more than stop and shop....
Sal May 09, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Thanks Steve and Vicki. Sal
John Dugan May 09, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Perhaps the merchants,Chamber of Commerce and the Village Officials could form a committee on Incentives and creative ways to regulate parking that will satisfy all concerned
Pam Robinson (Editor) May 10, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Steve, thanks for clearing up the confusion. Glad to know we weren't imagining you!
Mike May 10, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Went to pickup food from Lotus Garden, ran in to pick-up, order was late, come outside to see a ticket on my windsheild. $25 worth of food now cost me $75. The next time I got chinese I went to the place next to Palmers. From now on i will try to avoid shopping on main st.
TD182 May 11, 2012 at 01:14 PM
This town's thinking is ridiculous. As Mike and Beth said, they are supporting the local businesses that are left, and in return get penalized. The town tickets to bring in revenue however, at what expense? Why don't they care that it is hurting us businesses and without us they will have nothing. They prey on all these customers- how long does it really take to get your Chinese food ( even if it was late) and to grab pizza? It's ludacris they are sitting there from the moment you pull in the parking lot just waiting. Look at Babylon village, Huntington village and many others you can be there all night without the worry of getting ticketed. Maybe that's why their villages are thriving and our is not.
Steve Blitenthal May 11, 2012 at 04:44 PM
My Son Goes To The Nutty Irishman, He Wants To Be A Responsible Citizen And NOT Drink And Drive, So He Takes A Cab Home, Leaves His Car Parked Behind St. Kilians. And At 3AM He Gets A Ticket, What Is Wrong With This Village And The Board??
Peter Friend December 22, 2013 at 03:34 PM
The ticketing is deceptive and predatory. Virtually every community in the USA, has parking restrictions posted on every street. where there would be restrictions. Why put it on the welcome to sign? Because they want people to unknowingly break the village code. It's not about enforcement or discouragement, it's about revenue. When you go to Farmingdale traffic court, do they speak in a southern accent? This is like the old stories you'd hear about driving in he south.. BOYCOTT FARMINGDALE!!!!
Peter Friend December 22, 2013 at 03:40 PM
The town brings in revenue, while the storeowners continue to lose money and close, as more people avoid Farmingdale. And then who do you ticket? Maybe get rid off the gov't of the village of Farmingdale, then you wouldn't need to write so many tickets. Because then you wouldn't have to support lazy bums, w/that revenue. Get rid of entitled politicos


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