By Joe Maniscalco
Note to consumers: take an extra buck with you if you want to park your car inside the Kings Plaza Shopping Center garage.
The Brooklyn mall at Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U in Mill Basin jacked up its all-day parking rate from $2 to $3 this past week.
“It’s outrageous,” Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano complained.
In the past, Turano says that Vornado Realty Trust, managers of the mall, have always alerted the community board about raising parking garage fees. But not this time.
“Nobody ever came to let us know it’s three dollars,” the district manager said.
Kings Plaza Shopping Center features over 150 stores and eateries on two floors.
Macy’s Office Manager Leslie Brown isn’t sure that increased parking fees will adversely affect sales at her store, but she said that “a lot of customers complained when [the parking fee] was two dollars.”
Initially, parking was free when the shopping center debuted back in the late 1970s. It has gradually increased over the years.
“Parking rates at the mall had not changed in more than ten years, during which time many costs associated with operating the parking facility had increased,” a spokesperson told this newspaper.“Even with the rate adjustment, the cost of parking at Kings Plaza is still lower than at other comparable parking lots.”
Queens Center in Rego Park, Queens charges its customers anywhere from $3 to $20 to park at the mall.
However, other popular malls in the tri-State area like the Staten Island Mall, in New Springville, Roosevelt Field on Long Island and Woodbridge Center in New Jersey do not charge customers for parking.
Vornado also owns Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, but does not charge its customers to park at the shopping center there.
“Everything is going up,” said Larry Mathews, manager of the Modell’s sporting goods store in Kings Plaza. “Any kind of increase in this day and age is not good.”
Beyond the increased cost, Turano worries about increased traffic around the mall caused by shoppers looking to duck the $3 fee by trying to stow their automobiles someplace else.
“The traffic is going to be tenfold,” the district manager said. “They’re going to encourage people to park at [the nearby] Lowe’s. There’s going to be a glut on residential streets.”