Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
A parking meter on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, Queens.

This fall, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will increase parking meter rates in Queens for the first time since 2013.

Beginning in September, the rate changes will be rolled out gradually across the five boroughs, with increases ranging from as little as $0.25 per hour to as much as $2.oo per hour. In Queens, the changes will take effect on Nov. 1 with Flushing and Jamaica seeing an increase from $1.00 to $2.00 per hour, and other commercials strips such as Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood and Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven increasing from $1.00 to $1.50 per hour.

Other areas in the borough will see a slight bump from $1.00 to $1.25 per hour.

“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,” as noted in the Aug. 9 press release from DOT. “The modest increases announced today bring New York City parking rates more in line with those of peer cities, as well as better reflect the market demand for parking.”

Since the parking meters in Queens are located along the most popular commercial areas, it is likely that he meter rate increase will have an effect on local businesses. In Ridgewood, Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District Executive Director Ted Renz expressed his outright opposition to the rate hike when reached over the phone on Aug. 10.

Raising the parking meter rates on local commercial strips is another assault on small businesses that ares struggling to make ends meet,” Renz said. “This will drive people away from local shopping districts. I don’t think now is the time to increase parking rates.”

In Flushing, on the other hand, John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, saw both sides of the argument. He explained that while the chamber is always concerned when any cost for a business increases, he also understands that higher parking costs may influence more turnover in parking spots as the DOT mentioned, and more people will be able to park in front of a given business throughout the day.

As an example, Choe reflected back on when the City Council made it so that parking was free on Sunday with respect to houses of worship that were having parking issues. But the Chamber of Commerce found that people would then hog parking spaces all day long, making it even harder for people to park where they needed to, Choe said.

Still, Choe considers the possible residual effects that increased parking rates could have on a community like Flushing, where much of the available parking outside of commercial districts is owned by private companies.

“Some people may decide that the gap between market-rate and public parking is narrow enough that they would fork over a little more for market-rate parking,” Choe said. “For others it may be much more worthwhile for people to take the bus, or bicycle or walk instead.”

Brooklyn will be the first to adopt the increase on Sept. 4, with Manhattan following suit on Oct. 1 and the Bronx and Staten Island on Dec. 3.

Parts of Manhattan will see the largest increase by far, with Lower Manhattan and Midtown seeing rates climb from $3.50 per hour to $4.50 per hour as well as a new $7.50 second-hour rate for passenger vehicles. Commercial vehicles in those areas will pay an increase from $4, $5 and $6 for the first, second and third hours, to $6, $7 and $8.


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