Another fare hike! Parking meters go sky high in Slope

The Brooklyn Paper

Parking in Park Slope got much pricier this week — but it also could get a bit easier.

In hopes of freeing up parking spaces on traffic-clogged Fifth and Seventh avenues, the city jacked up peak-hour rates on parking meters as part of a six-month pilot program that began on Monday.

Workers have recalibrated parking meters to match the citywide base rate of $.75 per hour (up from the previous rate of $.50 per hour), and implemented a prime-time fee of $1.50 per hour between noon and 4 pm every Monday through Saturday.

Proponents told The Brooklyn Paper that the higher fees will stop drivers who park on Fifth Avenue between Sackett and Third streets, and Seventh Avenue between Lincoln Place and Sixth Street from lollygagging — making it easier to find spaces on the thruways and potentially bringing more customers to neighborhood shops.

“It will improve parking conditions by making more spaces available and creating more turnover,” said Dalila Hall, a planner with the Department of Transportation.

Hall added that the so-called “Park Smart” approach could “lessen double-parking” and “improve the overall feeling of the streets” — but some Park Slope merchants said they’d back the project only if it frees up additional parking spaces.

“People park on the street all day long, it’s ridiculous,” said Mitch Szpicek of Little Things Toy Store on Seventh Avenue between Carroll Street and Garfield Place.

“I’m for it, because it might get rid of people who are hogging parking spots.”

Transit expert Michael Cairl touted the program not only because of its possible impact on parking, but also because of the extensive traffic statistics that community groups will receive after the six-month study.

“The data that we will get will be a great benefit for the community,” he noted.

Most everyone in Park Slope agrees that something must be done to free up parking spaces in a neighborhood where researchers once found that 45 percent of the drivers clogging Seventh Avenue were simply looking for a place to park.

But some shop owners doubt that the so-called “congestion pricing” for meters will curb the parking problem.

“It won’t change anything,” said Jaleesa Soloano, manager of Cousin John’s Café on Seventh Avenue between Lincoln and Berkeley places. “A lot of my customers complain that they can’t find parking, but they will come either way.”

— with Evan Gardner

Reader Feedback

sid from Boerum Hill says:
you really want residential parking permits with this or you will never park on your own streets again....
May 1, 2009, 1:42 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
The higher fees might work let's give it a try. Parking permits don't work just ask the cops. They are getting towed by the Rat Squad. Parking permits wouldn't help when you go visit your old neighborhood either.
May 1, 2009, 9:43 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
this is just another nusance tax and another way for the city to nickle and dime the taxpayers, this will not create turnover of any parking spaces as commented on by the person from the DOT, they are nuts! take a good look at downtown brooklyns parking meters, no one pays a dime, the spaces are all filled up by cars with parking permits...this is all a phoney excuse to pick the taxpayers pockets of whatever change they may have left after being taxed to death by the city and state. just think ! florida has a 6% sales tax,no state income tax and a $66 billion dollar budget, where does all the money go that new york collects????
May 2, 2009, 8:51 am
Mike from GP says:
Actually, Al, this policy has proven quite effective in other cities in reducing illegal parking, increasing the availability of parking and improving business conditions.

Yes, illegal use of parking placards is a serious problem that the City needs to further crack down on. If you see this practice, take a picture and upload it to uncivilservants.org

As for your Florida comparison, I'm no government finance expert, but it seems rather simplistic and incorrect.
May 2, 2009, 2:52 pm
Dane from Park Slope says:
This isn't a nuisance tax, Al. This is a parking policy.

Why in the world would we give away automobile storage on 7th Avenue virtually for free? How does that make any sense?

If anything, these parking meter prices aren't high enough. We should charge $1 for the first 15 minutes and ratchet up the pricing every 15 minutes thereafter. And the parking revenue should go straight to the local merchants' business improvement district for streetscape improvements along 7th Avenue. I wouldn't mind additional trash pick-up, for one thing.
May 4, 2009, 10:19 am
j mork from p hts says:
Where does the money go? One fun idea would be to charge market rates for all on-street parking and then average it out and give a tax refund to everyone. That way people who aren't using the free/cheap parking get a "dividend".

That should free up a few spots!
May 4, 2009, 10:19 am
Boris from Bay Ridge says:
Al,

If no one pays, how is it picking anyone's pocket?

I like Dane's suggestion. Parking rates should be set by the local BID, and they should get to keep most of that money to spend on area improvements. The shopkeepers know best how many customers they want and how to provide the best shopping experience. They'll probably go for sky-high meter rates and use that money to build cheaper parking off-site for people willing to walk a little. That would be a win-win for the neighborhood.
May 4, 2009, 12:06 pm
Al from Park Slope says:
Maybe it's time for Park Slope to figure out how to get a few more parking garages into the mix of the neighborhood. When someone travels into NYC by car, they know they will find a garage near their city destination. In Park Slope's case, people either from the neighborhood, or those coming from any of the 5 boroughs to shop, eat or visit do not have that option.

As a local business owner, I feel we miss out on the opportunity to serve many shoppers/restaurant go-ers because whereas they may want to come to the neighborhood to try a restaurant they have heard about or to shop at the many stores that are written up in the publications, the lack of parking situation stops a lot of these people from bothering to venture to the neighborhood, thus hurts business by having to primarily rely on locals to come in an shop.
May 4, 2009, 3:17 pm
nobody from greenpoint says:
Al,

More parking garages will just erode the neighborhood, increase traffic congestion and will drive away the majority of your customers -- pedestrians. Park Slope is served well by transit, and biking, and could be even better served that way --- increasing business for you. But building garages is only going to make things worse.
May 4, 2009, 11:11 pm
Al from Park Slope says:
That could be one way of looking at the situation, by saying that the more access to parking the neighborhood has, then the more people would converge on the neighborhood leading to less character.

However, the residents of park slope have an absolute anxiety about parking, sometimes circling blocks for a 1/2 hour or more just to find a spot. There is also an anxiety about leaving cars parked on the street due to fears of vandalism and theft of property.

It seems to me that the concept you call "the eroding of the neighborhood" is another term for keeping non residents out. I cant see how you claim that keeping people out of the neighborhood translates into more business for me.

Places in the city that most resemble park slope, mainly the west village, Soho and the Upper west side do just fine keeping their neighborhood identity and making it easy for people to visit the local businesses by having multitudes of parking, as well as making it easy for local residents to have a safe and guaranteed place to park their car. In Park Slope, not having a guaranteed spot to park is one of the issues that carries along the most grief living in the neighborhood.

Being someone who is lucky enough to have a guaranteed parking space, I feel I have one of the greatest luxuries in the neighborhood. However parking really shouldn't be a luxury.
May 5, 2009, 3:10 pm
j mork from p hts says:
"In Park Slope, not having a guaranteed spot to park is one of the issues that carries along the most grief living in the neighborhood."

Fortunately, 57% of the households in Park Slope don't have a car; think how bad it would be otherwise.

(Source http://11215-cars.notlong.com/)
May 6, 2009, 5 pm
Jack from Windsor Terrace says:
Going to PS is going to the city for me. If anything increasing meter rates will discourage me from lingering and spending more money

Mike from GP, what cities did this prove effective? Can you cite a published report?

Why not just enforce current law and start ticketing people that (illegally) feed the meters?
May 15, 2009, 11:32 am
booker t. from brooklyn says:
Great Jack.

That will mean more room for the majority that's shopping on foot or using transit.
May 28, 2009, 10:46 am
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Aug. 6, 2010, 1:31 pm

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