Dyker Heights merchants are outraged that the city wants to extend parking meter times in nearby Bay Ridge to two hours, but have ignored Fort Hamilton Parkway, 11th, and 13th avenues — shopping strips that they say are being crippled by hour-long meters and eagle-eyed traffic enforcement agents.
“Why don’t they do it here, too?” demanded John Mazzola, president of the 11th Avenue Merchants Association and owner of La Sorrentina Restaurant on 11th Avenue at 66th Street.
Mazzola said his customers are hit regularly with $115 fines for overstaying their welcome at the one-hour muni-meters along Fort Hamilton Parkway and 11th Avenue.
The short shrift customers are receiving is bad for business, some vendors claim.
“People don’t want to come [to our shopping strip] because they’re getting tickets,” said Luciano Vaccaro, owner of the family-run Vaccaro Restaurant on Fort Hamilton Parkway near 68th Street.
Vaccaro claimed that residents and potential customers are shopping and eating elsewhere to avoid getting slapped with hefty fines.
“It hurts business,” he added.
The city announced last month that it would install two-hour meters on Fifth Avenue between 90th to 72nd streets, and on Third Avenue from 95th to 88th streets — after merchants collected more than 1,000 signatures demanding the extended meters, claiming they were good for business.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge), who backed the measure in Bay Ridge, said he would push for a similar parking meter extensions in Dyker Heights.
“We’re looking for two-hour meters in that area [because] when you get a ticket, guess what? You stop coming to these shops.”
Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Gastel said the city was considering two-hour meters in Dyker Heights, but wouldn’t elaborate.