While parking around Long Island Rail Road train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town.
“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”
For riders taking the train out of Floral Park, parking is available throughout the village, both by resident-permit and pay-meters, but the parking fields fill early, as most commuters are on their way into the city before 8 a.m.
According to Village Administrator Gerry Bambrick’s office, Floral Park provides spaces across more than six parking lots for residents and non-residents. Permits for under the track parking cost $75 annually, which is the cheapest option for resident commuters. Meanwhile, for those taking the train into Manhattan for a one-day event, the village provides daily metered parking spaces as well as resident and non-resident permit options.
While more residents will head into the city by rail road from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, MTA officials say the increased ridership is typically during its off-peak period, like weekends and evenings. Passengers who plan to leave for the city before daily commuters can get back to their cars will face a parking shortage.
“People should know that if they are planning to go into the city, parking [around the station] can be a little bit of a problem,” said Arena. “Parking availability becomes more difficult during the holiday season simply because of the volume.”
Even so, Arena said people should not be deterred from taking mass transit. “It’s better to go into the city by train rather than by car,” Arena said. “Even after the morning rush, you tend to have a simpler day if you use mass transit.”
For parking tips and a round-up of the worst LIRR parking situations, turn to page 10A.
— With additional reporting by Dan Offner