Time running out on parking meters

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All original parking meters in Queens will be defunct by June 2012, according to the DOT.
All original parking meters in Queens will be defunct by June 2012, according to the DOT.

Cruisers of Queens, keep your quarters. The infamous blue muni-meters, sporadically popping up along sidewalks across the borough, may soon be the only way to keep pesky parking tickets at bay.

While many popular strips have ditched the vintage meters – including Steinway Street in Astoria – areas like Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach and Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills have yet to make the jump.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), they began retiring old-fashioned meters in the outer boroughs during the summer of 2011 while replacing them with new muni-meters — claiming all original parking meters inQueenswill be defunct by June 2012.

Several reports forewarning a possible raise in muni-meter parking prices — 25 cents garnering only 10 minutes instead of the current 15 — have local community board leaders worried.

“This community would not be supportive of a raise in prices,” said Community Board 1 district manager Lucille Hartmann, who added that she felt an increase in parking costs would be bad for businesses in the Astoria area.

Several small company owners across the borough are against changing the meters, fearing that this alteration could take away business.

Kanu Patel, the owner of a grocery store on Cross Bay Boulevard between 161st and 162nd Avenues is opposed to the muni-meter swap.

“There’s nowhere to park now. If they change the meters, the people won’t stop here,” said Patel. “People don’t want to park because the traffic cops are always out there checking the meter.”

Many other stores along Cross Bay Boulevard have private lots behind their shops, eliminating the owner’s worry.

The DOT claims muni-meters offer advantages over their predecessors, including the convenience of a “pay-and-display” system, the elimination of unnecessary sidewalk juggernauts and a possible increase in curbside parking space.

With additional reporting by David Beltran