Long Island City dwellers have circled the block for the last time.
Residents of the rapidly-developing district, sick of searching for scarce parking, blame Manhattanites for using the neighborhood with lax street-side laws as their personal parking lot.
“It’s a convenient place for those living or working in Manhattan to leave their cars for the day or weeks,” said Peter Johnson, a Long Island City resident who claimed the problem has persisted for years.
One Manhattanite who works for Citicorp left her car parked at the edge of Johnson’s house for several months. She told him she occasionally stopped by during her lunch break just to turn the car on to recharge the battery.
“[She had] no qualms about taking the parking that should be for residents,” said Johnson.
According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), street storage of vehicles is prohibited. On streets that are without regulations for alternate-side parking, including residential neighborhoods, cars are not allowed to remain in the same spot for seven consecutive days.
Johnson suggested resident parking stickers as a possible fix to the parking problem. The DOT said residential permits are not under consideration as the agency does not have the authority or funding to implement a system.
“We do know that people are leaving their cars on the streets for long period of time,” said Community Board 2 Chair Joe Conley.
In May of 2012, board members conducted an impromptu experiment, scrawling dates and times on cars in dust along 47th Avenue and 48th Avenue to track their movement. Cars didn’t move for several weeks.
As part of a separate cleanliness initiative, Community Board 2 reached out to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) in hopes of bringing street cleaning to the neighborhood. Conley believes the parking regulations necessary for street cleaning will alleviate some traffic tension.
“Throughout the rest of the district we have alternate side parking so cars have to move,” said Conley. “In Hunters Point we don’t have restrictions so cars can stay there forever.”
Conley also believes the area’s booming population and residential upswing has attributed to parking woes. The formerly industrial neighborhood, which mainly saw circulation increase during week days, is now subject to seven straight days of traffic. Conley added that while LIC has always suffered from a serious parking shortage, turnover of parking is essential to residents and businesses in the neighborhood.
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