Commuters utilizing the muni-meter lots on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside are having their parking plans curbed by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and other local elected officials on September 29 to announce that 60 muni-meter parking spaces on Queens Boulevard and 40th Street underneath the No. 7 train will be converted to a four-hour maximum time limit next month.
In addition, the weekday “No Standing 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.” regulation on the north curb of westbound Queens Boulevard from 48th Street to 32nd Place will be removed, and two-hour muni-meter regulations will be installed. Street cleaning will also be in effect daily between 7:30 and 8 a.m.
Community leaders hope that the adjusted parking regulations, which begin on October 31, will make the area more accessible to motorists, particularly those looking to visit the neighborhood’s businesses. Among the intended benefits is the prevention of commuters leaving their cars in the lots prior to using the train to travel to their jobs in Manhattan.
“We live here, we shop here and we want to support our local neighborhood,” said Van Bramer. “We also want to make sure that there is sufficient turnover to allow more people to access the services on Queens Boulevard. If we limit so much parking to commuters who are coming very early, getting off the 7 train after work, getting in their cars and heading back east, then that is not benefitting our neighborhood.”
Before making the alterations, the DOT evaluated the traffic conditions on Queens Boulevard during the morning peak hours, and determined that the changes would create a better balance between short and long-term parking availability in the area.
“Sunnyside is more than a stop along the No. 7 train, it’s a destination for shoppers that local retailers depend on,” said Sadik-Khan. “By expanding short-term parking, we’re balancing the needs of commuters while providing access that will help boost the local economy.”
Stores in the area are excited about the potential surge in business that could come from having their shops more accessible to customers.
“The people who park here for 12 hours are the people who go to the city,” said Giovanni Brione, manager of Oasis Pizzeria, which is located across from a parking lot. “They shop and eat in the city, come back here and then go back to the island. If we have more space available for parking, then more people will come here to shop. Many times people don’t want to come around here because there is no parking. This change will help the businesses.”
Despite claims that the adjustments were requested and are heralded by Sunnyside residents, some believe the changes are less about improving parking flow and more about increasing cash flow to the city.
“I can’t believe the city is doing this,” said Adrian Ionas, a resident of Sunnyside. “This is not going to be an improvement for the people parking here. The city is just looking to make more money.”