Parking on two traffic-clogged, retail-heavy Park Slope streets will soon get more expensive — and, oddly enough, that’s the good news!
Merchants on bustling Fifth and Seventh Avenues have won a long-running battle for meter rates that are steep enough to trigger high visitor “turnover rate,” but not so stiff that they deter out-of-area shoppers.
Come May, the city will raise hourly meter prices from 75 cents to $1.50 during “peak hours” — from noon to 7 pm — on Fifth Avenue, between Dean and 15th streets and on Seventh Avenue, between Sixth and 15th streets.
The price hike is victory for restaurant owners like Irene LoRe, president of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District.
“It’s a great idea,” she said. “If meters are too cheap, people are just gonna pump quarters in all day.”
Proper meter prices will help get rid of traffic, too, civic leaders say.
“It’s a great solution because the ultimate goal is to decrease congestion,” said Craig Hammerman, District Manager of Community Board 6.
Hammerman was focused on congestion because a 2007 study showed that a large percentage of cars in motion at any given time in Park Slope are simply looking for parking.
In May 2009, the Department of Transportation launched a pilot program called PARK Smart that increased meter rates from 75 cents to $1.50 per hour on a select portion of Fifth Avenue, between Sackett and Third streets, and on Seventh Avenue from Lincoln Place to Sixth Street.
The goal was to boost business by shooing away drivers who monopolize spots — and the Department of Transportation says that its data show it’s working.
As a result, the city initially suggested raising the $1.50 meter price to $2.25 on Fifth and Seventh avenues — but that’s where Park Slopers objected.
“It’s just a way for the city to make money,” said Jo-Ann Kalb, who runs Park Slope Copy Center on Seventh Avenue, arguing that fees so high would discourage customers.
The $2.25 idea was nixed, but the more modest increase earned the support of Community Board 6 last week.
The hike is expected to take effect in May.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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