Valet Parking Trial Update

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parkingWith both the Park District and Shop Delight expressing great satisfaction with their trial parking arrangements at the Welwyn Road/Shoreward Drive intersection so far, both parties are looking to make the agreement a permanent one.

“There have been no difficulties,” said Eddie Yakubov, one of Shop Delight’s owners. “Every thing is going smoothly. We’re getting a lot of smiles from customers. Now they can take their time and shop. They used to come and rush because they were scared they were going to get a ticket.”

“There’s no more double parking,” he continued. “The street is empty. Usually, people are honking and going crazy and the buses are going crazy.”

The store has agreed to pay for all expenses involved, including the costs of parking attendants and for the use of the lot directly across the street from the store that is owned and operated by the Park District.

Yakubov reports that his staff has accommodated as many as 40 cars at a time with no difficulties. Over 700 of his customers have signed a letter of support for the system.

“Even the bus drivers are giving us the thumbs up,” he said referring to the constant difficulties that buses have had in getting through the intersection.

“So far it’s working,” commented Park Commissioner Dan Nachmanoff about the one-month arrangement that began on March 23 and is in effect on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. “We’re very happy. I think that we’ll be able to reach a permanent arrangement.” Nachmanoff added that he expected that the District and the store would get together soon after Passover to discuss the details of a permanent agreement.

“It’s working out for us,” agreed Yakubov. “The customers are very happy and thanking us for doing this. We’re getting a lot of smiles. It took us a long time to get this done but it’s working out for us and it’s keeping traffic moving. Hopefully, we can make it a permanent thing. We would like Great Neck Plaza to install more crosswalks.”

Pedestrians who cross carelessly across the street instead of using the designated crosswalk by the Barstow Road traffic circle continue to do so, which remains a great concern. The Park district has expressed a willingness to open the parking lot fence directly across from the store to accommodate a pedestrian crosswalk.

Both Yakubov and Nachmanoff have hopes that the Plaza, with its recently obtained $838,000 Federal Transportation Enhancement Program grant, will take steps to reconfigure the Welwyn/Shoreward intersection to provide for better pedestrian and traffic flow. A recent Plaza newsletter stated that the intersection would be one of the grant’s targeted uses.

One of the earliest concerns prior to the trial was the fear that commuters attempting to leave the lot would find that their cars blocked by Shop Delight customer cars.

“Not one person has complained,” said Yakubov. “So many commuters are our customers too.”

“We haven’t had any complaints either,” Nachmanoff said.

Customers must enter only after 9 a.m. through the entrance closest to the Post office (on Shoreward Drive) and leave their keys with parking attendants who are stationed in the lot. This will allow cars to be moved if a commuter returns prior to 4:30 and needs to leave.
The system is suspended from 4:30 to 7 p.m. to allow commuters to retrieve their cars directly and exit as usual. When the store has evening hours, the system will again be in operation.

As the test has progressed, some changes have been made. The store has decided to keep their attendants on duty until 7 p.m., instead of 4:30.

“We want to make sure that the commuters have the ability to move out when they want to,” explained Yakubov.

The store has found that the lot is relatively empty on Sundays but still posts an attendant to monitor activities even though shoppers may park by themselves.

“It took us a long time to get this done but it’s working out for us and it’s keeping traffic moving,” said Yakubov. “Hopefully, we can make it a permanent thing. We would like Great Neck Plaza to install more crosswalks.”

Pedestrians who cross carelessly across the street instead of using the designated crosswalk by the Barstow Road traffic circle continue to do so, which remains a great concern. The Park district has expressed a willingness to open the parking lot fence directly across from the store to accommodate a pedestrian crosswalk.

Nachmanoff revealed a surprising effect of the project’s success. It seems the need for parking is even greater than first supposed, and it just might lead to help for commuters.

“It has spawned some local interest. The local residents have asked, ‘Why don’t you give us overnight parking?’” he said.
“It has never worked out in the past,” he continued, “because commuters always need the lot very early and the lots do have to be cleaned. But I have some ideas and we’ll certainly listen to what they have to say. We’ll set up a meeting. Maybe we can find some [way to make it work] and maybe we can’t, but we’ll definitely listen to them.”

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