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Muni-meters coming to Park Slope in January

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Park Slope will finally be getting a high-tech facelift on Fifth and Seventh avenues that will free up spots and even allow you to feed the meter with a credit card.

Scheduled to be installed in early 2010, the muni-meters, which are popular in even minor cities throughout the first and second worlds (and even Bay Ridge!), eliminate the need for the more familiar “lollipop” meters while also creating space for one more parked car per block because cars do not need to be spaced so far apart.

The new meters are the next step in the city’s “Park SMART” pilot program, which seeks to free up parking spaces on Fifth Avenue between Sackett and Third streets, and on Seventh Avenue from Lincoln Place to Sixth Street by charging more for “peak hour” parking. Starting in April, the city started charging $1.50 up from 50 cents per hour to park between noon and 4 pm.

While irking some drivers, such moves are an attempt to open up parking spaces in a neighborhood where nearly half the cars that are in motion at any minute are merely looking for somewhere to park.

Irene Lo Re, president of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, said the pilot program has worked.

“It discourages people from feeding the meters all day,” Lo Re said. “As merchants, we want more spots. Hopefully parking won’t be so difficult now.”

Joseph Palmieri, the borough commissioner from the Department of Transportation, told Community Board 6 that the new muni-meters are easier to use because they accept coins, credit cards and parking cards, though they are not widely available yet.

Palmieri also mentioned an added bonus: The elimination of the old-fashioned meters will free up space for new bicycle parking.

Another advantage? Muni-meters eliminate the need to pay someone to collect all the quarters.

Then again, that ease also allows the city to change parking rates for a whole block at one time, though the Department of Transportation denied that muni-meters are a back door way of raising parking rates.

Updated 11:31 pm, December 2, 2009: Story was updated to be a little clearer.
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Reader Feedback

Ben from Park Slope says:
Ugh. Can we please stop giving Irene LoRe a platform for espousing her idiotic theories? She's the only person along 5th Ave. who doesn't understand that patrons to her mediocre restaurant come on foot and that businesses are better off with more foot and bike traffic, not more auto traffic.

Anyway, who drive to her dumpy restaurant anyway?
Dec. 1, 2009, 2:30 am
Bob from Brooklyn Heights says:
"the Department of Transportation denied that muni-meters are a back door way of raising parking rates"

earlier in the story, you report just the opposite — by explaining that the munis will allow for higher rates during the busiest shopping times.

in this case, Irene is correct. most slopers DO walk to fifth avenue, but not everyone does ... and fifth avenue businesses depend on out -of-area shoppers and diners as well as slopers, and many out-of-area visitors DO drive.
Dec. 1, 2009, 4:57 am
Jeff from Bed-Stuy says:
I am curious about the statement that the removal of the old-fashioned meters (you know, the ubiquitous poles running up and down the block which are perfect for locking a bike up to) will "free up space for new bicycle parking."

I'm not just being a bitter cyclist. There is, of course, the chance that they will either repurpose one or two meters on each block for bicycle parking (as the city plans to do on upper Madison Ave), or using the freed-up space to install actual bike racks. I'm just curious where this comment is coming from, as it seems a bit counter-intuitive from a cyclist perspective.
Dec. 1, 2009, 10:48 am
Bob from GP says:
Great news!
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:21 am

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