By Rebecca Henely
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), community leaders and residents condemned the city Department of Transportation Monday for its plans to install Muni-Meters near 41st Avenue and 29th Street in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City.
“They continue not to do the right thing when it comes to putting in parking meters,” Van Bramer said.
Jerry Walsh, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, said the DOT had been placing Muni-Meters on 41st Avenue and Queens Plaza between 27th and 29th streets.
He said the bases for the meters on 29th Street had been installed two weeks ago and that he feared the spots would be used not by residents or patrons of nearby businesses, but by city workers who would take up the spaces using real or doctored parking placards.
“Once again we’re going to be a victim,” Walsh said.
DOT spokesman Monty Dean said in an e-mail that the Muni-Meters are replacing single-space meters that had been in place but were removed for area construction projects. He said the meters would not be installed right away, but the installation date would be posted on the DOT’s website 30 days in advance.
Residents were concerned that the Muni-Meters would make a hellish place to park even worse. The section where the Muni-Meters are being installed includes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 29th Street Ventilation Complex and 28-11 Queens Plaza North, which houses numerous government offices.
Van Bramer said city workers using parking placards, some of which were doctored or expired, has long been a problem on the street and he had requested more enforcement, but the DOT was not responsive.
He said the city workers parking with placards means the DOT will not get revenue from the Muni-Meters.
“They are just disadvantaging the folks who live in this area and work in this area,” Van Bramer said.
He said he had introduced legislation into the Council last week requiring the DOT to consult with local community boards before installing meters.
Demitrios Giorgadas, who owns Dena’s Coffee Shop and lives above it, said he gave up his car a year ago because it was impossible to park in the area.
Another resident, Hector del Curto, said as a musician he needs to have his car to work, but parking makes it difficult.
“For me to bring all my equipment to my house from three blocks away, it’s nonsense,” Curto said.
Resident Millie Lainez said as a woman she often feels unsafe walking home at night after parking many blocks away.
“We’re just asking, please, no meters,” she said. “It’s going to cost us a lot.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.