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No-arm bandits take more money on Fifth and Seventh Aves

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The city has once again hiked the cost of “Park Smart” meters on two retail-heavy Park Slope strips — but this time merchants are calling the increase dumb.

On Tuesday, the cost of peak-hour parking jumped from $1.50 to $2 on Fifth and Seventh avenues between Lincoln Place and 15th Street.

The price hike is part of a citywide increase in meter fees, but parking between noon and 7 pm will remain more expensive than during normal hours to increase turnover and shoo away cars that hog spaces.

Some longtime business owners say the price hike — which comes just three months after the same meters doubled from 75 cents — crosses a the line from reasonable to steep.

“It’s too much, too soon,” said Irene LoRe of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District. “People will take a train to shop downtown just drive to where parking is easier.”

In May, LoRe and fellow merchants supported raising the meter price from 75 cents to $1.50, saying the rate was high enough to increase turnover, but not so high that it would deter out-of-area shoppers.

That increase came after a 2007 traffic congestion study showed that a large percentage of cars in motion at any given time in Park Slope are simply looking for parking.

Two years later, the Department of Transportation began a program called PARK Smart that increased the rates from 75 cents to $1.50 per hour on a select portion of Fifth Avenue, between Sackett and Third streets, and on Seventh Avenue from Lincoln Place to Sixth Street.

As a result, the city suggested raising the $1.50 price to $2.25 — but that’s where Park Slopers started to object.

“It’s just a way for the city to make money,” said Jo-Ann Kalb, who runs Park Slope Copy Center on Seventh Avenue, arguing that fees so high would discourage customers.

This time, Hammerman said public discussion “wasn’t an option” because the Department of Transportation — which did not return calls — implemented the price hike citywide, as opposed to at the request of the community board.

LoRe, for one, thinks more discussion is warranted. “This is a big jump,” she said. “We could suffer.”

But Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman disagrees.

“It will be good for local business,” he said. “People will think more about their parking habits.”

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Reader Feedback

VLM from Park Slope says:
$2 is still an under-market price to charge for rent, and if anyone stops showing up at Irene LoRe's restaurant, it's because the food sucks, not because of on-street parking rates. Who drives to come shopping along 5th Ave. in Park Slope anyway? Get a grip.
Aug. 10, 2011, 1:38 am
Yossi from Park Slope says:
What we really need are resident permits (paid of course) for parking on side streets. The meter spots are often empty while 'free' parking on side streets is becoming difficult to find, especially at night and on the weekends. As a resident, I'd be happy to pay for the privelege of street parking if it would keep spots open for people who live in the hood.
Aug. 10, 2011, 7:07 am
mike from GP says:
$2 is cheap. This is just the latest attempt by LoRe to hurt businesses in Park Slope. It's pretty clear she doesn't have a grasp on how this works.
Aug. 10, 2011, 7:31 am
S from PPW says:
Natalie O'Neill continues her crusade against sensible transportation policies, looking for controversy instead of doing some actual reporting into parking and pricing.

Increasing the price of parking increases turnover, which increases the number of people who can find a spot, which therefore increases the number of people who can visit and patronize businesses. If I want to run into a copy shop on 7th Avenue, for example, I'm going to have an easier time finding a parking space if the price of parking isn't so low that it encourages people to leave their private vehicles in a spot for hours. It will also make it easier for local businesses to receive deliveries.

Anyone who claims this is going to hurt their business should be required to prove what percentage of their business comes from people arriving by car. In some areas of the city, that number is less than 6%. It may be slightly higher in Park Slope, but I doubt it's more than 10%. Most people are arriving by foot, subway, bus, or bike.

And is Irene LoRe insane? What person is going to look at the price of parking -- $2 for 1 hour -- and think that a round-trip journey on the subway -- at about $4.50 -- will be more economical. And parking is easier downtown? Which downtown? Des Moines?

LoRe, Kalb, and O'Neill need to read Donald Shoup. O'Neill should go write for the Post, since that's what this rag is becoming anyway.
Aug. 10, 2011, 9:07 am
trans alt from bike city says:
Whatever it takes to get cars off the streets. Charging $100 to bring your car into Brooklyn would be even better.
Aug. 10, 2011, 10:14 am
D from Queens says:
All of y'all are communists. This is America, we are a capitalist country. This free parking and nanny state garbage saying how much a spot should cost is bogus. Auction the spaces off and let the market decide! If it's $50 per hour on a really in-demand block, let it be $50. If it's 50 cents per hour, let it be 50 cents.
Aug. 10, 2011, 10:46 am
G from Slope says:
My apartment is about the size of two parking spaces and I can assure you it costs more than $2 per hour to rent.

Property in New York is limited and valuable! Let the free market set the rate for on-street parking!
Aug. 10, 2011, 10:53 am
boof from brooklyn says:
So, are all the spaces empty now because it's too expensive? If not, then it's fine.
Aug. 10, 2011, 1:24 pm
Pauli from PS says:
G, you're paying more than $2,880 for an apartment the size of 2 parking spots????
Aug. 10, 2011, 2 pm
Patrick from not park slope says:
“People will take a train to shop downtown just drive to where parking is easier.”

Will someone explain to me what this quote even means? The typos and mistakes in this paper annoy and amaze me on a daily basis. Also, Park Slope has SO many trains available that this should be a moot subject. Take the train. Use your legs. Stop complaining.
Aug. 10, 2011, 2:12 pm
G from Slope says:
Pauli, I'm kidding of course. But the idea that on-street parking should be free or dirt cheap is ridiculous! Why should city taxpayers who don't drive or own cars subsidize the habits and parking of people who do? Parking needs to be more expensive!
Aug. 10, 2011, 2:42 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Pauli, better check your math.

$2/hour x 24 hours = $48.

$48 x 365 days = $17,520.

$17,520 / 12 months = $1,460 per month.

Sounds about right for a 400 square foot rental in Park Slope.

Plus, meter rules are not in effect overnight, or on Sundays.
Aug. 10, 2011, 2:44 pm
garfieldplace from parkslope says:
The only thing keeping people from Aunt Suzie's is the disgusting food, 1980's decor and nasty owner.
Aug. 10, 2011, 3:35 pm
RobertWilliams from bike town says:
MUST-SEE 4-minute youtube video on Smart meters:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8JNFr_j6kdI
Aug. 10, 2011, 4:02 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"So, are all the spaces empty now because it's too expensive? If not, then it's fine"

No, now people circle the block instead of parking - more polution, congestion, and danger to the bike riders riding the wrong way and through the lights.

You can pass a lot of laws, but the one about unintended consequences gets you every time.

The parking rates are a trap to raise ticket rates - the real reason and where the real revenue is. Nothing like paying $2., and finding a ticket on your car anyway.
Aug. 11, 2011, 8:39 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Or, you seem to be contradicting yourself.

If the spaces aren't empty, of course they're going to keep driving to find an open spot.

Sounds like parking is still too cheap.
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:11 am
Home Owner from Park Slope says:
Thank you, Irene, for fighting to keep parking meter rates low. You are ensuring that I can park my car in front of your shop all day, thus, making it impossible for potential customers to find parking spots in front of Fifth Avenue businesses.

Thank you also for your work in making sure that Sunday parking continues to be free. This allows me to park my car in front of Fifth Avenue restaurants and businesses ALL day on Sundays, thus ensuring that it is TOTALLY impossible for potential customers to drive to Fifth Ave.

Once the Nets arena is up and running, the cheap and free parking on Fifth Avenue is also going to be a HUGE benefit to people who want to drive to games and events. Why pay for stadium parking or an LIRR train ticket on a Sunday, for example, when you can just drive to the game and park for free on Fifth Avenue!!!

Keep up the good work, Irene! You're doing a heck of a job for your fellow merchants. And thank you, also, Brooklyn Paper, for covering this issue in the most superficial way possible.
Aug. 11, 2011, 1:26 pm

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