Bay Terrace traffic study suggests Bell muni-meters

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

The Department of City Planning took another step in attempting to resolve traffic and parking woes in Bay Terrace by releasing its completed year-and-a-half-long study of the area earlier this month.

But a civic group in the area and doctors differed on the study’s most controversial recommendation — the installation of muni-meters on Bell Boulevard.

“We’re not happy about it,” said Phil Konigsberg, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, which picketed doctors’ offices last month after poles for parking meters went up near 24th Avenue.

The Department of Transportation removed the poles as it awaited the results of the City Planning study of the parking-strapped area, home to many residential co-ops, the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, doctors’ offices and Fort Totten.

The Bay Terrace Community Alliance and politicians contended the meters had been requested by the doctors and would change the neighborhood’s character by taking away long-term parking.

Doctors blamed the Bay Terrace Shopping Center’s expansion for removing parking from the area and requested that the center offer some spaces to patients. The center in turn said spaces needed to be saved for shoppers.

“We’re looking at the parking study and reviewing all the options that are available,” said Joann Ferrara, a physical therapist.

In its study, the agency recommended that muni-meters be installed on the west side of Bell Boulevard from the Exxon station to the entrance of the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, currently a no-standing zone, said Konigsberg.

Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who had joined Konigsberg in the picket line, said: “I had asked if they could just put parking back there without meters.”

The agency said meters, though not necessarily muni-meters, should be installed on the south side of 26th Avenue from Bell Boulevard extending one block west, said Konigsberg.

Other less controversial suggestions include changing the timing of traffic signals and reconstructing the intersection of Bell Boulevard, 212th Street and the Cross Island Parkway.

The 212th Street entrance to the southbound parkway would be closed and moved west near the Baybridge shopping center. Two lanes of traffic would head in each direction under the existing parkway overpass near Fort Totten and sidewalks would be installed on both sides of that roadway.

A community meeting to discuss the study was scheduled for Thursday, March 11.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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