Since the opening of Belmont Park’s UBS Arena this past November, residents in the area have complained that their quality of life is diminishing due to the masses of people going to the arena who aren’t acting as neighborly as they should be. Complicated by the fact that the arena’s parking garage has yet to open to help alleviate the parking problems, residents in Elmont have voiced their frustration over vehicles blocking their driveways and people’s drunken antics. In nearby Floral Park, residents have said that the constant noise from the cars in the parking lot that surrounds their homes in the village’s West End are starting to become a nuisance. Now, the Town of Hempstead has decided to taken action.
In a letter written to Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, Legislator Carrié Solages (D-Valley Stream) said, “I am writing on behalf of numerous residents regarding the proposed resolution coming before the town board to further restrict parking in the residential area immediately adjacent to Belmont Park racetrack. Numerous residents have reached out to my office to complain about parking and traffic problems that have been caused by the recent opening of UBS Arena. Specifically, residents are concerned that, since the arena opened, there are a large number of vehicles that park on the local side streets any time there is a concert or hockey game. Further, residents state that these vehicles make it difficult to find parking near their homes, and also cause issues with traffic safety, making it dangerous for residents to drive up and down these streets.”
Also in the letter, Solages added that he has spoken to police officers of Nassau County’s Fifth Precinct, who are aware of the ongoing situation. Officers agreed that the ongoing situation surrounding the arena is dangerous and is a quality of life concern for residents.
“However, they inform me that, until the signs are changed to accommodate the arena’s hours, there is little that can be done with enforcement. Therefore, residents and I respectfully request that the town board approve the resolution to further restrict parking in the residential area immediately adjacent to Belmont Park racetrack, and once approved, place the appropriate signs as soon as possible.”
At the hearing late last month, Supervisor Clavin said the town has heard concerns from residents and from Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
“We wanted to get on this right away,” Clavin said. “Obviously the arena is affecting your community, your livelihood and your enjoyment.”
Newly elected Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who was also a councilmember for the Town of Hempstead, also spoke at the hearing about what he plans to do.
“I spoke to Police Commissioner Ryder, they [the police] are going to beef up the enforcement over there and are adding more assets to make sure that the enforcement is very intensive,” Blakeman said. “This is a state operation; the state controls that facility. If this was the Town of Hempstead who controlled it, this supervisor and this town board would never have let the Islanders move in and open that arena without that parking garage being open. I think the state did a real injustice to the people of Elmont. The town’s on top of it and the county is on top of it. Until that parking garage is open, we’re going to intensify enforcement.”
The town board voted unanimously to enact the new parking regulations. The new limits will keep non-residents from parking on roads off Hempstead Turnpike.