Anger over parking rate hikes

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Councilmember Donovan Richards holds a press conference opposing increased parking lot prices. THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
Councilmember Donovan Richards holds a press conference opposing increased parking lot prices.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) could be taking extra money out of commuters’ pockets this summer.

The organization made a proposal to increase fares up to 233 percent for municipal lots, and residents aren’t looking to pay up.

Councilmember Donovan Richards held his term’s first press conference outside one of those lots at the Rosedale Long Island Railroad (LIRR) train station, where commuters travel day in and day out, paying to park in the lot.

“This is attacking our pocketbooks, our expenses and this is just something that we cannot tolerate,” said Alfred Osbourne, Rosedale resident and permit holder at the LIRR lot, who is still recovering from Sandy. “I have other bills, and now to get hit by this? It’s unsustainable.”

Richards said that this increase is “unwarranted,” and “nothing but greed.” Although no numbers are finalized, the increase would go up from the current $110 monthly rate for parking, said Osbourne.

“We cannot afford these steep increases that they are proposing,” said Richards. “Considering the current economic climate facing working families in my district, this . . . increase would disproportionately affect residents.”

State Senator James Sanders, Richards’ former boss and mentor, also attended the press conference to voice his support for his prior chief-of-staff and opposition to the proposed increases.

“What will this increase result in?” he asked. “A better maintained area? Will it be safer? [Is the DOT] putting up signage or walkways? I would argue no.”

Sanders said he will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Richards on this issue. The two suggested alternative means for the city organization to get the money it needs, such as cutting from corporate subsidiaries.

“Look at them before forcing everyday citizens to take it out of their pockets,” said Richards.

However, a DOT statement said that the parking rate adjustment is the first at the Rosedale lot in many years.

“Bear in mind that there are only 12 permit holders at this lot, and that their effective daily parking rate is increasing from approximately $1.15 to $1.40, still well below the market rate for parking in this area,” said the statement.

The DOT also said it received no comments on the rate from Rosedale permit holders.

 

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