Every morning, employees park their cars and head to work. It's where they are parking that has East Meadow residents up in arms, and Thursday, their voices were heard.
A community meeting was held in the hospital's amphitheater, hosted by Arthur Gianelli, President and CEO of NuHealth.
The area south of Hempstead Turnpike, including Roosevelt Avenue and 1st Street, seems to be the most crowded block, along with streets just west of Carman Avenue. Folks living on these streets were in attendance, and voiced their displeasure with hospital patrons parking on their block.
"Six parking spots [on the street] are taken daily," said Anne Mayosky, who lives on the corner of 2nd Street and Franklin Ave. "[Employees] have so much nerve that they block my driveway."
Before turning the floor over to residents, Gianelli reviewed the parking situation at NUMC. The existing parking garage was deemed old and unsafe, and a three-phase plan was put in place on campus.
The first phase was , with valets handling the parking. Phase two will be the demolition of the old garage, along with other structures on the grounds, to make way for more surface parking. Phase three will be the construction of a new garage.
"We will do whatever we can to create additional capacity for parking on a temporary basis and a permanent basis here on the campus to alleviate the pressure felt by the community," Gianelli said.
Phase one is done, but two, and certainly three, will take some time, as a new garage would cost up to $60 million to build. NUMC hopes to contract with a vendor to handle the work at some point. Gianelli did acknowledge he could have done a better job in terms of timing phase two with the closing of the old garage.
"We try and get our employees to understand that we're your neighbors, you're our neighbors, and we need to be respectful of [that] fact," he said. "These are residential areas and they need to try and find parking on this campus."
Compounding the issue is the fact that visitors are charged $5 to park at the hospital, so they too park on the streets.
"There is no parking enforcement change that is going to eliminate every person parking on your streets," Hudes said. "We are looking to make a large enough impact that will help you."
Residents add it's not just the amount of cars on their street, but it's also a quality of life concern.
"My garbage doesn't get picked up all the time because they park there," Anthony Castellano said. "The garbagemen don't want to go around the cars. Plus the street sweeper doesn't even put the brush down. He's going right down the middle of the street because he can't get to my curb."
The idea of a shuttle bus was raised, where staff would leave their cars at Nassau Coliseum or and be taken to work. Gianelli said that was considered, but he ultimately decided to go with the stackers. He did say some employees would still rather take the short walk to work from a nearby street, rather than wait around in the cold for a bus. Still, Gianelli said they may revisit the idea.