By Carlotta Mohamed
The cost of metered parking will be going up in New York City, including Queens, when the Big Apple is hit with the increase beginning Nov. 1
The new rates will affect parking spaces in the commercial districts of Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights and Forest Hills, with prices going from $1 per hour to $1.50. Jamaica and downtown Flushing will be hit harder, as the rate will be hiked from $1 to $2 per hour.
The city Department of Transportation announced earlier this year that parking meter rates would be adjusted for the first time since 2013 for both passenger and commercial vehicle zones throughout New York City and would continue on a rolling basis until the end of the year.
“Parking meters play a critical role in providing an efficient street network, allowing for the efficient delivery of goods and services as well as providing curb turnover as a resource for customers to access storefront businesses,” the DOT said in its Aug. 9 announcement.
The DOT informed elected officials of the rate changes in April and also noted the planned changes at its May 2018 City Council Executive Budget Hearing.
The agency said the modest increases will bring New York City parking rates more in line with those in peer cities as well as better reflect the market demand for parking.
In downtown Flushing, where parking meters are located along the most popular commercial strips, the increase will likely have an effect on local businesses.
John Choe, executive director of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, said he has received some mixed feedback from people about the repercussions of the new meter rates.
“The chamber is always concerned when the cost of doing business goes up for small businesses in Flushing, but at the same time there may be a beneficial impact from increasing parking meters in that it may increase the frequency of a turnover, and allow more people to come to the businesses that they need to visit on any given day,” he said.
According to Choe, from a business perspective it’s probably not a good time to raise the parking rate, but the chamber is also looking at long-term planning needs of the community.
“One of the biggest problems we face in downtown Flushing is traffic congestion and difficult access to businesses,” said Choe. “Counterintuitively, long-term increases may actually support more sustainable development in the area… at some point the only way to reduce congestion is to incentivize people to get out of their cars, use mass transit, and use bicycles or walk.”
In addition, Choe said there’s an assumption that there’s no available parking in downtown Flushing, when in face there is an excess of market-rate parking in private garages. The new parking meter rate increase may encourage people to use the parking garage more often.
Parking meter rate changes will come to Brooklyn Sept. 4 and continue on a rolling basis across the city through the end of the year.
Beginning Oct. 1, the hardest hit areas are in Lower Manhattan and Midtown, where passenger rates will increase from $3.50 per hour to $4.50 per hour.
All parking payment options will remain the same at New York City Muni-Meters: coins, credit and debit cards as well as through the use of ParkNYC mobile app.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha