Local governments on the East End are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in missed revenue by not charging for public parking in some areas. Many resort towns do this. Why this hasn’t been taken up here is hard to determine, though it may have had something to do with downtown business owners and their employees wanting to be close to their places of business. Yet by not charging, even seasonally, the towns and villages double down because they need to hire armies of chalk-wielding uniformed traffic control officers to assure compliance. Compared to modern paid-parking technology, the East End communities are still in the Stone Age.
The math is compelling. If the Town of East Hampton installed automated ticket meters and required them for 500 parking spaces, which were occupied just four hours each day in June, July, and August at $2 an hour (as in other vacation areas in the Northeast), the revenue would be more than $350,000. Even after costs, the money would be useful; one idea might be to use it to offset work to bring order to Montauk’s parking mess downtown. And if the Village of East Hampton added paid parking to its central lots, income could go to help pay for a planned sewage treatment system.
Fear of change should not stand in the way of an obvious revenue stream.