Shore Road parking pains to end

Parking-starved Shore Road residents can look forward to getting back a few precious spaces a city sidewalk reconstruction project gobbled up in March.

The city says it is altering its plans for renovating the sidewalk lining Shore Road Park to restore the lost parking spaces in phases as it works its way from 89th Street up to 86th Street. The Parks Department originally planned to eliminate parking on all of the affected blocks until the projected completion of the reconstruction in June.

The Parks Department said Bay Ridgeites can expect to get 10 of their old spots between 88th and 89th streets back by the end of this month, and another 10 in May between 87th and 88th streets, though the agency admitted that uncooperative weather could throw the whole timetable off.

The change of plans followed a meeting between Brooklyn Parks Borough Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey and Bay Ridge Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), after Gentile’s constituents started complaining about the loss of spots along the already parking-pinched street.

Gentile trumpeted the new arrangement.

“It’s no secret that parking comes at a premium around here,” Gentile said. “We tried to make the best compromise possible to maintain a safe pedestrian passageway while restoring needed parking spaces.”

Bay Ridge motorists have long lamented the lack of available spaces in their neighborhood, and those along Shore Road — with its twists and turns and three schools — have been the most vocal about their suffering.

In February, the Bay Ridge Courier documented local activist and Community Board 10 member Allen Bortnick’s fight to buy exclusive rights to a spot in front of his Shore Road home. Bortnick said the deal struck with the Parks Department is an improvement over the previous plan, but complained that it doesn’t go far enough to compensate for the neighborhood’s lack of parking.

“There is no reason on Earth why they can’t put down tape or cones, some kind of barrier, and let people park along it from five at night and seven in the morning. Then in the morning when they start work, the cars will be gone,” Bortnick said, suggesting that the city create a “dog-leg” in the construction zone that would narrow the driving lanes while creating extra space along the side of the road for cars. “You cannot just take away spaces in an area that is already at a loss for parking. The city has no idea of need or common sense as to what they are doing, and have a complete disrespect for residents, drivers, and cars.”

Work to tear out the old sidewalk and replace it with new rectangular and hexagonal paving stones started on March 5. Once the first section between 86th and 89th streets is complete, the stretch from Oliver Street to 94th Street will receive the same treatment.

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