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Hundreds more drivers will compete for parking spots in Gowanus and Park Slope under a plan by Con Ed to eliminate a 250-space employee parking lot next month.
The energy giant will close the private parking lot inside its superblock complex bounded by Fourth and Third avenues and First and Third streets — sending workers hunting for spots alongside residents in the already spot-challenged area.
“This company don’t give a damn,” said union president Harry Farrell. “All they care about is money.”
Utility workers — many of whom commute from Staten Island, Queens and Long Island — say that closing the lot would flood the streets with suburbanites who are too burnt out to vie for parking.
But locals have an issue, too.
“Our lunch crowd already has a hard time,” said Ian Vidaurre, who manages Bogota Latin Bistro, which is nine blocks away on Fifth Avenue. “Less parking is bad for business.”
Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert said the firm is getting rid of its free parking lot “as part of an overall strategy to reduce operating costs for customers.” Company honchos are subsidizing employees’ use public transportation, although out-of-borough workers — many of whom arrive before sunrise and work 16-hour days — say that’s unrealistic.
And workers like Vinny Kyne think that the company should consider the larger ramifications of the move.
“It’s not just us who will suffer,” he said. “Park Slope will, too.”
Hundreds of employees use the building — which is full of offices, a locker room and a “service station” — as a home base, just catty-corner from where a new Whole Foods will rise (and no-doubt draw even more traffic to the area).
A decline in the number of free parking spaces will inevitably result in more traffic. After all, a 2007 study revealed that 45 percent of traffic on nearby Seventh Avenue comes from drivers simply hunting for spots.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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