It’s usually difficult to find a parking spot on Kings Highway, and in the fall, it will also be more expensive once you land one, city officials announced last week.
That’s because of a new experimental program hatched by the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) that would make parking meter rates double during peak traffic periods.
The program will include Kings Highway and a portion of Greenwich Village in Manhattan.
DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told The New York Times that the goal of the program is to increase the turnover rate in curbside parking spaces, helping drivers spend less time circling in search of a spot.
“We’ve picked corridors that have a lot of congestion and a lot of cruising,” she said.
Meter rates along Kings Highway charge 25 cents for 20 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on the location.
Sadik-Khan said meter rates could be raised to 25 cents for 10 minutes, most likely during midday or the afternoon.
The program will begin in October and span six months. If it is successful, the project could be expanded to other parts of the city, the commissioner said.
The agency has not yet announced how many blocks along Kings Highway will be included in the program.
State Senator Carl Kruger blasted the pilot program, calling it “another attack on the middle class.”
In a letter to Sadik-Khan, Kruger urged the city to abandon the “poorly conceived experiment that will signal the death knell for businesses that are working valiantly to stay afloat.”
He said the city is trying to penalize shoppers, “who are the backbone of our economy.”
“All this means is that people will go elsewhere to shop,” the state lawmaker said.
Ted Timbers, a DOT spokesperson, emphasized that the Kings Highway portion of the plan is not yet finalized. “We are still meeting with the community,” he said. “We are trying to gain their support.”
He said the plan seeks to “benefit business and those who need the parking spaces.”
Phil Nuzzo, the executive director of the Kings Highway Business Improvement District (BID) said his board of directors is awaiting a formal presentation by DOT officials on the pilot program.
“We haven’t heard anything other than a preliminary report,” he said.
Theresa Scavo, the chair of Community Board 15, said she is willing to give the program a chance.
“Why not give them the opportunity to alleviate the problem?” she said. “It is simple to say, ‘this is not good.’”
She said parking woes and congestion along Kings Highway are well known, including legion of double parked cars, and drivers indiscriminately parking in bus stops.
“A problem exists. There is not an individual that will turn around and say that a problem doesn’t exist,” she said. “And it’s something that is getting worse and worse.”
In the spring, Scavo attended a meeting about the pilot program at the office of Joseph Palmieri, DOT’s Brooklyn commissioner.
She said when she left the meeting, officials there said that “nothing is written in stone,” meaning that if the program is ineffective, it can be scrapped.
“I feel we have nothing to lose—but if it turns out to be a bomb, in three months we can put up such a stink that they will remove it,” Scavo said.
Mohammod Salem, the owner of Kings Highway mainstay Adelman’s Kosher Deli, predicted the pilot program will do little to solve the area’s traffic problems.
“There is nowhere to park anyway,” he said. It’s not going to effect business.”
He said people who live in the neighborhood use the commercial strip as their own personal parking lot.
“It doesn’t make a difference, either good or bad,” Salem said.
©2008 Community News Group
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