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Muni meters click in on 86th

The city just installed muni-meters like these on 86th Street in Bensonhurst. So far, the locals love ’em!
The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

It’s been three weeks since the city installed 58 “Muni-Meters” on 86th Street — and Bensonhurst drivers apparently love them.

“I love not wasting my shopping time searching for change,” said Jonathan O’Neil. “It’s really simple and so convenient!”

The meters are certainly convenient, city officials said, because they not only take the standard quarters, but also dollar coins, credit cards and “Parking Cards” that can be purchased by mail or on the city’s Web site.

But are they simple? They certainly do simplify the streetscape, given that one muni-meter replaces at least six regular parking meters.

The loss of individual meters also creates a few more parking spaces per block, said city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who was on hand last month to christen the Euro-style meters.

“Parking just became a little easier for drivers who visit one of Brooklyn’s business shopping streets,” she said.

It also got a little more expensive. Thanks to modern technology, the no-arm bandits are programmed to charge progressively higher fees for longer stays to encourage turnover.

A study this summer by Transportation Alternatives suggested that a least half the cars circling our commercial strips are merely looking for parking. The advocacy group has encouraged the city to raise meter parking rates to encourage turnover.

Even with the higher prices, driver Ted Burgen said he’s pleased.

“These Meters are so awesome!” he said.

“I don’t have to worry about tickets and loose change. All I have to worry about is time, and that is pretty fair. New York definitely needs this, it is extremely convenient.”

The 58 meters in Bensonhurst join the 1,200-odd muni-machines the city has installed since 2005, Sadik-Khan said.

To buy a pre-paid parking card, go to www.nyc.gov/dot.

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