Muni-meters coming to Park Slope in January

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

Park Slope will finally be getting a high-tech facelift on Fifth and Seventh avenues that will free up spots and even allow you to feed the meter with a credit card.

Scheduled to be installed in early 2010, the muni-meters, which are popular in even minor cities throughout the first and second worlds (and even Bay Ridge!), eliminate the need for the more familiar “lollipop” meters while also creating space for one more parked car per block because cars do not need to be spaced so far apart.

The new meters are the next step in the city’s “Park SMART” pilot program, which seeks to free up parking spaces on Fifth Avenue between Sackett and Third streets, and on Seventh Avenue from Lincoln Place to Sixth Street by charging more for “peak hour” parking. Starting in April, the city started charging $1.50 up from 50 cents per hour to park between noon and 4 pm.

While irking some drivers, such moves are an attempt to open up parking spaces in a neighborhood where nearly half the cars that are in motion at any minute are merely looking for somewhere to park.

Irene Lo Re, president of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, said the pilot program has worked.

“It discourages people from feeding the meters all day,” Lo Re said. “As merchants, we want more spots. Hopefully parking won’t be so difficult now.”

Joseph Palmieri, the borough commissioner from the Department of Transportation, told Community Board 6 that the new muni-meters are easier to use because they accept coins, credit cards and parking cards, though they are not widely available yet.

Palmieri also mentioned an added bonus: The elimination of the old-fashioned meters will free up space for new bicycle parking.

Another advantage? Muni-meters eliminate the need to pay someone to collect all the quarters.

Then again, that ease also allows the city to change parking rates for a whole block at one time, though the Department of Transportation denied that muni-meters are a back door way of raising parking rates.

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