Changes are afoot in downtown Montauk in time for the summer season. One is a trash recycling pilot program; the other the institution of a two-hour parking limit in much of the area.
The recycling program was initiated by Laraine Creegan of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce and Catherine Foley, the owner of the Air and Speed Board Shop on Main Street, a member and former director of the Montauk Chamber. Ms. Foley said she had noticed an increase in litter in the downtown area and at the same time some of her customers were shocked there was no recycling in public places.
“We needed to do something; it’s become out of control, an emergency situation,” Ms. Creegan said on Tuesday at the chamber building. With the support of the East Hampton Town Board, they decided to do something about collecting recyclables. The result is that new bins, which will be marked, one for glass and the other for paper and cans, will be placed next to the town’s existing garbage receptacles along the sidewalks. The town will empty the bins and replace the plastic linings.
A letter was sent out in April to business owners in the area asking them to buy a bin at $190 apiece and explaining that their business name would be printed on it. Within two weeks the chamber had received a good response, said Ms. Creegan. Of 52 bins made available only 17 are left. If the plan goes well it will be expanded to side streets and the harbor area next year. addition, the Concerned Citizens of Montauk and a number of residents contributed to the project.
“We’re so proud of the response and how fast people are excited to say, ‘Yes, let’s take care of our town.’ It’s shown a real sense of community,” Ms. Foley said.
Also among changes are new parking plans that are expected to alleviate crowding in the downtown area. Shop owners have complained that some people have parked in the business district and spent the day at the ocean beach, a deterrent to business.
A subcommittee of board members of the chamber has worked with the town to get parking limited to two hours on roads from Coffee Tauk on South Edison to Amy’s Closet and around the bend on South Etna up to the Naturally Good Health Food Store. Across the street on South Etna, where there is now a strip of unpaved road near St. Therese of Lisieux, pavement will be poured and parking delineated by lines.
When Ms. Creegan and East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione brought the parking plans to a Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee meeting earlier this month, committee members thought it a good idea and wondered why it wasn’t also being implemented in other areas of the business district. That will come eventually, Ms. Creegan said.
The subcommittee also had its eye on the Kirk Park parking lot, which is underutilized, Ms. Creegan said. Noting that the park has restrooms, she said that even though the nonresident parking fee of $10 had been eliminated, the lot sits half empty even on the hottest summer day. By Memorial Day, there is to be a sign at the lot, advertising free parking. Some parking spaces in the lot, which were designated for residents only, will become open to the public.
The public parking lot behind Plaza Sports will also have some of resident-only spaces moved, and a two-hour parking limit will be imposed there except for residents with an East Hampton Town parking, or beach, sticker, who will be able to continue parking there for an unlimited time.