Bay Ridge Towers: We need more parking spaces

Residents: Third Avenue sinkhole really stinks!
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Bay Ridge Towers residents are blasting a city proposal to remove eight parking spots from Fourth Avenue at 65th Street, claiming that they desperately need the spaces — sparking a war of words with infuriated Community Board 10 members who say high-rise apartment complex tenants have their own 300-car lot and shouldn’t be parking on city streets.

The Department of Transportation wants to remove the eight parking spots so it can create a left-hand turn lane at the intersection, which the agency claims will eliminate a bottleneck on the heavily travelled thoroughfare. But Bay Ridge Towers tenants say they use those spots, which are right around the corner from the 65th Street building, when their parking lot is filled.

“They are quite valuable to the building,” said Bay Ridge Towers board president Thomas Clark, claiming that not every apartment has a parking space, and some tenants have as many as three cars — news that elicited angry responses from parking spot-strapped CB10 members attending last week’s Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting.

“If you’re going to have three cars, move elsewhere,” board member Joseph Sokoloski told Clark.

Other CB 10 members downplayed Clark’s claims, believing that the Bay Ridge Towers could fit more cars in its lot if it redrew the lines.

“If you took a good look at your parking deck, I bet you could squeeze 50 more spots out of there,” CB10 member Bob Hudock said.

Yet Clark was quick to lash back, claiming that the lot is already crammed with cars.

“If you’d like me to give you a tour of our parking, I’d be happy to do it,” Clark told Hudock.

Some Bay Ridge Towers residents say the eight spots will be removed in vain because the city’s plan won’t alleviate congestion on Fourth Avenue won’t work.

“South-bound traffic has to be stopped to allow north-bound traffic to turn,” Bay Ridge Towers resident Bill Benedetto said, demanding that the Department of Transportation install a traffic light under the overpass to force cars coming into Bay Ridge to stop.

Department of Transportation officials said they would consider putting in a traffic light, but only in conjunction with their current plan.

The committee didn’t make a recommendation — which is only advisory — at last week’s meeting. The proposal will be discussed by CB10’s full board on Sept. 24.