Getting Less for Your Parking Meter in NYC


nyc-parking-meterNew York City parking-meter feeders are getting less bang for their quarter. At 47,000 meters around town, 30 minutes for 25 cents is being reduced to 20 minutes at the same price. It’s part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to raise an additional $16.8 million annually to help close the city’s $4 billion budget gap. The move has business owners fuming.

“It’s bad timing, it’s a bad economy, and we’re trying to survive,” said Mathew Xenakis, owner of Park Place Florist and Greenery in Woodhaven, Queens.

Since the new meters were installed, Xenakis said he’s heard complaints from customers and fellow store owners.

“If you go to a store and get ticketed faster than before, you don’t want to go back,” he explained.

The changeover — the first for the lowest-rate meters since 1995 — began on Feb. 16 and is already done for all 17,842 meters in Queens, and is under way on 7,138 in The Bronx, Department of Transportation numbers show.

Next will be 18,042 change-gobblers in Brooklyn, followed in June by 1,733 on Staten Island.

By late June, the remaining 2,744 lowest-rate meters in Manhattan will be converted, almost all above 96th Street.

Higher meter rates have long prevailed below 96th, especially at muni-meters that accept DOT pre-paid debit cards as well as quarters.

Drivers are upset that the overhaul is being done with little notice, leaving them with expired-meter violations.

“It’s expensive in this situation, with people not having work. Thanks, Mayor Bloomberg,” said tongue-in-cheek Queens construction worker Mariusz Zuba.

“Everybody is broke — the city should take away some meters to give people a break,” added Brooklyn mechanic John Zarro.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens) said the change will bring even more of an “onslaught of parking tickets.”

“In Queens, people woke up one morning and found that parking meters increased in the cover of night,” he said.

Some community-board activists, however, welcome the change and are pushing for even higher rates.

“The more cars we get to turn over, the more we get shoppers running quick errands into the stores,” said Ian Dutton of Community Board 2 in Greenwich Village.

The board is testing peak-time parking rates — around early afternoon — for $2 an hour, and non-peak rates at $1 an hour, Dutton said.

“The whole point of having meters near businesses is to move cars along and get turnover. Even with rates the way they are, a parking spot is still the cheapest real estate you can get in Manhattan,” he said.

{NY Post/ Newscenter}