The Hicksville LIRR parking garage owned and operated by the Town of Oyster Bay was closed last week because of what appears to be a weakened infrastructure.
Turns out, the complaints of cracks and falling concrete are a few years old and the Town did not feel the need to speed up the repair project.
"In the past three years, the Town of Oyster Bay had received complaints about falling chunks of concrete and cars damaged by water, said Deputy Supervisor Leonard Genova.
"The complaints are consistent with an aging facility," Genova said yesterday. "It's not something that would indicate that there were serious issues."
Falling concrete - the very thing the parking garage is made of - is not serious?
"The town initially awarded the contract in July 2006, but the contractor withdrew its bid the next month because it did not have an apprenticeship program as town law requires, Genova said.
In October 2006, the job was awarded to another contractor, with work slated for the summer of 2007. But in April of this year, the town withdrew after it found the contractor was not qualified, Genova said.
On May 28, the town once again began soliciting bids, which are due Wednesday. Genova said that the town had asked the contractors to evaluate the condition of the garage and specify necessary repairs. He said that their reports never indicated the existence of serious problems."
Well apparantly since the Town felt th eneed to CLOSE the garage, problems were indeed serious enough.
"Shuttle riders yesterday wondered why town officials waited until now to close the facility. They talked of having found "white gunk" on their cars over time, and seeing gaping cracks in the cement and "10-foot waterfalls" cascading down walls.
Steve Goodkin, 39, said he wasn't surprised the garage was closed. He said in the past few months he had seen signs alerting drivers to the impending closure - but that later signs announced construction had been delayed.
"You hear the whole garage rumble when people are driving above and chunks of cement are missing," said Goodkin, a computer programmer.
Ari Jasper, 29, of Plainview, who returned to the parking lot at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday after attending a Yankees game with his wife, said the problems were obvious. "It's impossible not to notice the conditions," Jasper said. "When it rains, the cement cracks and you see gushes of water."
But by all means, Supervisor John Venditto and the JV Squad should not miss any photo-ops at community events.
Here's a letter in today's Newsday that accuratly reflects the outrage of the 1400+ commuters who use the lot.....
"Town garage fix should be swift
Two years have passed since the Town of Oyster Bay realized that the Hicksville train station parking garage needed repairs ["Garage already due for repairs," News, June 5]. During the two years the town made inspections, identified the need to make repairs - but failed to hire a contractor to perform the work necessary to keep the garage open.
The 1,400 drivers who use the garage daily were fortunate that a catastrophic event did not occur while our town officials responsible for maintaining this facility were asleep at their desks.
Ridership on the LIRR has increased significantly during that period, and demand for parking at Hicksville has also increased. As commuters are turning to mass transportation as an alternative to high gasoline prices, a significant number of parking spots are lost.
We can only hope that the town officials will act more responsibly and reopen the garage in a timely manner.