Merchants demand shoppers have more time to shop

New Muni-Meters are being installed along Kings Highway, and merchants want them to have an extra hour of parking.

But the Department of Transportation says it is keeping the times on the meters as they are.

“In a shopping district you should be able to shop,” said Kings Highway Business Improvement District Executive Director Phil Nuzzo. “True shopping includes browsing and multiple purchases at multiple locations, and it can’t be accomplished in one hour.”

Other shopkeepers agree that it is important to their business that customers be able to stay in stores without having to run out move their cars or feed a meter.

“If they changed it to two hours it would give customers more time to walk around and more time to shop,” said Jeffrey Fallon, spokesmanfor the Sunflower Cafe on the corner of Quentin Road and East 12th Street.

But Bill Ades, a shopper and consumer along the busy corridor, said it depends on which part of Kings Highway he’s on.

“I used to work out at Bailey’s on Kings Highway (between Coney Island Avenue and East 10th Street) and I hated to rush out and feed the meter because I needed more than an hour at the gym. So two hours would be helpful over there,” he said. “But on the other side of Coney Island Avenue on Kings Highway it might not be helpful. Parking and traffic is already a problem on that side. One hour parking would free up more parking spots.”

City Councilman Mike Nelson’s chief of staff Debbie Miller-Weiss said making the meters two hours between Ocean Avenue and Coney Island Avenue is an idea whose time has come.

“Back in 2008, they did an experiment and changed the meters to 20 minutes for a quarter instead of 30 minutes with the thinking it would get people moving more quickly because so many people were double parking, but it only exasperated the problem,” said Miller-Weiss.

Department of Transportation spokesman Monty Dean said theagency is installing 66 Muni-Meters on both the main strip and side streets over the next few weekends.

“The meter regulations will be the same as those that currently exist, with mostly one-hour regulations on Kings Highway and two-hour regulations on some side streets,” he said. “We did receive the request from the BID on Friday and will look into it.”

Nuzzo, who sent the letter to the Department of Transportation requesting the extra hour, has high hopes.

“I can safely say that no letter I’ve written in almost 25 years of doing this would have such a dramatic economic impact,” he said.

Still, some local workers have a more personal reason for favoring the switch.

“Two hours for all the meters is an amazing idea,” said optician Ilya Mirensky, who works at Kings Highway Vision at the corner of Kings Highway and East 13th Street. “Sometimes I park in front of the store and one hour is extremely inconvenient. Time flies by and you have to come outside and feed the meter. Sometimes you get stuck with one customer too long and then I get tickets.”