The Long Island Index Unveils the Innovative Parking Designs Generated by its ParkingPLUS Challenge

Contact: Emma McKinstry Goodman
Media International


Four Architecture Firms, Selected Through A National Search, Created The Designs To Inspire New Thinking About Parking Structures In Suburban Downtowns

Garden City, NY – January 16, 2014 – The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, today unveiled the designs resulting from its ParkingPLUS Design Challenge. The Challenge was initiated to encourage transformative thinking about parking structures in suburban downtowns and how they could be re-imagined to better address downtown needs.

The Challenge involved a national search for four prominent, cutting-edge, architecture firms, which were commissioned to create designs specific to four Long Island communities: Rockville Centre and Westbury (in Nassau County), and Patchogue and Ronkonkoma (in Suffolk County). The firms unveiled their designs at the launch of the 2014 Long Island Index, held at the Performing Arts Center at Adelphi University.

“The ParkingPLUS Design Challenge is intended to spark a vibrant conversation on Long Island and nationally about new ways of thinking about parking structures and their relationship to downtown suburban settings,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation. “While the designs are specific to particular locations, they are intended to generate a broader discussion about the ideal attributes of future parking structures.”

The four commissioned architecture firms and their designs are as follows:

  • Utile, Inc. Architecture + Planning – Civic Arches for Rockville Centre;
  • dub Studios – Main Street Brackets: Shared Parking in Patchogue;
  • Roger Sherman Architecture + Urban Design – Ronkonkoma Parks and Rides: a Horizontal Skyscraper;
  • LTL Architects – Train Terraces: Incubating Urbanism in Westbury.

“Parking has been an essential lubricant of suburban development since the Model T of 1911, and it needs to be rethought,” said June Williamson, national expert on suburban retrofitting and ParkingPLUS consultant. “These prototype designs for parking successfully challenge 2 fundamental stereotypes about this everyday infrastructure by revealing new visions that are both inspiring and realizable.”

“There are more than 4,000 acres of surface parking lots in and around Long Island’s downtowns that could, and should, be creatively re-imagined,” said Ann Golob, Director of the Long Island Index. “These highly regarded and inventive architecture firms are helping us take the first step in envisioning what new facilities could look like.”

The architectural design teams were chosen through a highly competitive search process. Each was paired with one Long Island community where civic leaders expressed interest in exploring innovative new solutions for integrating beautiful, high-performance, parking structures into their transit-served downtown areas.

Over an intense six-week design period, the architects were challenged to explore the premise that good design of public facilities – in this case “boring” parking garages – can be economically, environmentally and socially transformative to their settings. They were also asked to envision “PLUSes” – additional uses that would enliven these structures, provide amenities for their respective locations and suggest potential financing strategies for maintenance and operation of parking.

For Rockville Centre, the Utile team, led by Tim Love and Elizabeth Christoforetti, designed a garage prototype with a ground floor of soaring, monumental, concrete arches, both inspiring and economical to construct. It illustrates three variations of the prototype design that, if built, would free up more than three and a half acres of land for small parks and plazas, while at the same time adding more than 400 parking spaces to Rockville Centre’s supply of commuter parking.

In Patchogue, Michael Piper and his team from dub Studios proposed both a modestly sized new parking deck – designed to be airy, open, and easy to access within an existing mid-block parking lot – and a cutting-edge “way-finding” system of automated signage, lighting, and landscape improvements that would promote better usage of the current supply of scattered surface parking lots.

On a 30-acre lot in Ronkonoma, serving a major Long Island Rail Road station and a regional airport, Roger Sherman Architecture + Urban Design and a team of consultants, presented a “Manhattan transfer” design – a super-scaled, family-focused, all-season recreational park in the form of a (tongue-in-cheek) tipped-over Empire State Building, with alternating levels of parking and other uses (totaling 1.75 million square feet of space and 4411 parking spaces).

In Westbury, on two lots flanking the elevated train station platform, LTL Architects proposed urban incubators for sustainable architecture in the form of elegantly designed, mixed-use, infill projects with multiple terraces that bridge over, under and along the tracks, continuing their award-winning design investigations into “new suburbanism.”

The ParkingPLUS Design Challenge was coordinated by consultants June Williamson – Associate Professor of Architecture at The City College of New York/CUNY, author of 3 Designing Suburban Futures and co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia – and Kaja Kühl, Adjunct Associate Professor of Urban Design at Columbia University and principal of youarethecity.

Additional information on the ParkingPLUS Design Challenge is available at the Long Island Index’s website ( and through Build a Better Burb, the Index’s awardwinning online journal of suburban design (

About the Rauch Foundation
The Rauch Foundation (, which funds the Long Island Index, is a Long Island-based family foundation that invests in ideas and organizations that spark and sustain early success in children and systemic change in our communities. The Foundation was established in 1961 by Louis Rauch and Philip Rauch, Jr. Funding for the Foundation was made possible by the success of the Ideal Corporation, an auto parts manufacturer founded in 1913 by their father, Philip Rauch, Sr.

In addition to funding the Long Island Index for ten years, the Rauch Foundation commissioned The Long Island Profile Report and a series of polls on Long Island to determine how the region is faring. The Long Island Index reports are available for download at The Long Island Index interactive maps, an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information, as well as the Build a Better Burb website, are also accessible from the Index’s website.