Commuters who drive to the Gravesend Neck Road subway station before hopping on a train to the city were surprised last week when, according to a reader, the Department of Transportation installed Muni-Meters nearby, eliminating approximately six free parking spots.
Our tipster, Auxil B., writes:
Muni Meter mania is sweeping the Bay, as you previosuly reported. What you may not know is that [on the morning of June 15] DoT gobbled up a half dozen formerly free spaces on the north side of Gravesend Neck Road bet e.15 and e 16 street and have Muni-ized them. I wonder if that is legal and does our City Councilman or CB 15 know that? This makes it even harder to find all day commuter parking at Neck Road.
Well, sure, it’s legal. But does Community Board 15 get notified when new metered spaces are installed?
“No, no, no. DOT does not inform the Board about upcoming work,” Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo told Sheepshead Bites. “The installation of muni-meters is done and I find out when you find out. The Board has no say.”
If DOT is eliminating free parking spaces on Gravesend Neck Road, where else are they doing it?
We asked them just that question, as well as an explanation for why.
They sent no response.
Do you know of any other parking spots in our coverage area that were previously free but became metered when Muni-Meters were installed? Let us know in the comments!
Reader Randy Contello tipped us off after he noticed several bases of muni-meter parking spots installed last week on Avenue U from East 16th Street to East 21st Street.
Now, the muni-meters are fully installed and running.
The new meters are part of the Department of Transportation’s plan of replacing all single-space meters throughout the city with the muni-meters.
The installation work for our area includes the following locations:
- Avenue U from Ocean Parkway to Gerritsen Avenue
- Coney Island Avenue from Avenue Z to Hutchinson Court
- Nostrand Avenue from Avenue U to Kings Highway
- Sections of East 12th to East 29th Streets, Haring Street, Desmond Court, Dunne Court, Avenue Z, and Gravesend Neck Road
The work is set to be completed in December.
The DOT states that, “Muni-meters have several advantages over single-space parking meters, include the convenience of a pay-and-display system, the reduction of unnecessary sidewalk encumbrances, and additional capacity for parked cars in the same curb space.” Whether or not this helps or hurts businesses is debatable.
“Yay for hell coming to the area with the start of muni-meters,” says Contello.
Recently, local pols introduced a bill that would enabled muni-meter parking have payment roll-over ability. No word yet on the bill’s passing.
UPDATE (5:37 p.m.): Randy informs us that it’s only the north side of Avenue U that currently has operating muni-meters. The south side has spray-painted marks indicating the locations for installation. Fill us in and let us know about progress at the other locations listed above!
Cymbrowitz with members of the Kings Highway Beautification Association | Source: Cymbrowitz's office
Twenty-two antique light poles are being installed along Kings Highway between Ocean Parkway and McDonald Avenue, replacing all existing street and traffic lights. It’s part of an effort to make an oft-ignored stretch of businesses more appealing to shoppers.
The project is being done with $228,000 allocated in 2007 by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, and will be completed in approximately one month.
“It’s always important to enhance our commercial strips, but now with the economy taking its toll on shopkeepers’ bottom lines, it’s even more important that we do what we can to encourage local shopping,” Cymbrowitz said.
Cymbrowitz told Sheepshead Bites that this stretch of Kings Highway is not covered by the Kings Highway Business Improvement District, which spends thousands annually on the stretch east of Ocean Parkway for beautification and revitalization. Meanwhile, the western portion’s more grisly aesthetic is turning off shoppers, evidenced by rapidly shuttering businesses. The antique lights – and other recent initiatives – are part of an effort to restore the area’s economic viability.
Keep reading for a complete explanation from Cymbrowitz’s office, as well as some background on the problem.
Kings Highway businesses got a measure of relief from the Department of Transportation, which added an hour to the time limit of meters along the busy commercial strip.
The Kings Highway Business Improvement District championed the issue back in April, sending letters to the DOT requesting the meters be changed. They argued that shoppers need at least two hours to visit multiple stores and do their shopping. One-hour muni-meters installed six weeks ago just didn’t give enough time, and it was hurting businesses, they said.
“Our patience and persistence paid off because shopping, browsing and making multiple purchases at multiple locations cannot be accomplished in one hour,” Kings Highway Business Improvement District Executive Director Phil Nuzzo told Courier-Life.
The change to two-hour limits will take effect by the end of the summer.
Photo by Lenskikh of Panoramio
Over the next few weekends, Department of Transportation is installing 66 new Muni-Meters along Kings Highway and its side streets, but residents say meter rules need to change to accommodate shoppers.
“In a shopping district you should be able to shop,” Phil Nuzzo, Kings Highway Business Improvement District’s executive director, told Courier-Life. “True shopping includes browsing and multiple purchases at multiple locations, and it can’t be accomplished in one hour.”
Nuzzo has sent a letter to DOT officials requesting one more hour be added to the maximum time limit, so shoppers can walk the strip for two hours before rushing back to their cars.
“I can safely say that no letter I’ve written in almost 25 years of doing this would have such a dramatic economic impact,” Nuzzo said.
But, like so many other things, the city’s response was merely to say they “will look into it.”
The logic behind such short time limits is to free up parking spaces quickly so more consumers can access the shopping district’s main drag. But the hassle may actually be driving customers away.
What do you think? Will adding time to the meters be Kings Highway’s economic boom or bust?