In an attempt to match the village code to what the public has seen for years on street signs on Main Street, the Port Jefferson board of trustees made changes on Monday to parking rules that were on the books. They also made changes to Sunday parking times for a section of the west side of Main Street to accommodate churchgoers in need of extra time for services.
Signs on Main Street downtown say that parking is restricted to one half-hour between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Monday to Sunday. On the east and west sides signs show the restriction stopping at the East Main Street intersection. On the west side of Main Street, the restrictions change to one hour parking from East Main Street to Barnum Road.
Mayor Margot Garant said that she wasn't positive but said that the signs might have been installed right before she took office in Spring of 2009.
Although the signs had been put up, the changes were never written into the village code, according to Garant. She called the changes a bit of “house keeping” at the public hearing held on Jan. 9 at .
According to the original code, one hour parking on Main Street was allowed between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. in the designated spots.
Village Clerk Robert Juliano said that the only change the public will see is the change in parking rules on the west side of Main Street between the East Main Street intersection and Barnum Avenue. In that section, cars can park for one hour between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. except on Sundays when parking restrictions will begin at 1:30 p.m.
The request to ease the parking rules on the west side of Main Street originally came from the seeking more time to park on the street for its parishioners for Sunday service.
At the public hearing, Sandra Swenk, the former mayor who jokingly introduced herself as a “Methodist,” said that she supported the change to the code.
Port Jefferson resident, Mike Lee said he supported “some kind of relief” but said the plan could “backfire” because the parking spaces might be taken up by visitors to the village looking for free parking on Sunday mornings instead.
The spots will not strictly be enforced for churchgoers, according to Dr. George Westby, the Chairman of the village Parking Committee. He said anyone who comes to town on a Sunday morning will be able to take advantage of the new rule change.
Westby told Patch that he said to the church when they brought up the change, “you can do this but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the parking.”
Juliano said that he didn't know if anyone has ever challenged the fact that the signs did not match the parking code. He also said that signs displaying the eased parking rules between East Main Street and Barnum Avenue on the west side of Main Street will be installed as soon as they are printed up.