Shoppers will be banned from parking along portions of Church Avenue during weekday mornings as the city moves ahead with a plan to create truck loading zones along the commercial strip.
Beginning Jan. 18, about 40 curbside spaces between E. 16th Street and E. 21st Street will be reserved for trucks loading and unloading between 7 am and noon — with the ban continuing until 3 pm between E. 18th and E. 19th streets.
It’s all part of the city’s plan to provide parking for trucks when they are most likely to be there, while returning the curbside to shoppers later in the day — and improving the overall traffic flow in the area.
Shoppers and delivery drivers will find that time is on their side when it comes to finding parking,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who added the plan will “keep traffic moving and keep Church Avenue open for business.”
Not so, say some store owners and shoppers.
“They always try to make everything better but they make everything worse,” said Steve Chasin, owner of Gifts on Parade, on Church Avenue between E, 18th and E. 19th streets. “It’s going to take business away.”
Shopper Jennifer Peralta agreed.
“It will discourage people from shopping here so they go somewhere else where they have parking,” she said.
Still, others see the plan as a potential boon to business.
“I think it will be much better for traffic,” said Aurelio Bruno, assistant manager at Meat Palace, between E. 18th and E. 19th streets. “It will help people move around faster, and take them less time to park.”
Alex Lombardi, who was minding the store at Dreamy’s Mattress, down the block, also said the move would be beneficial.
“There’s traffic left and right and trucks double-parked so it’s difficult for pedestrians to cross the street,” Lombardi said. “I think [the new plan] will be a plus.”
The plan represents the culmination of an extensive study and review process. The change was initially requested by the Church Avenue Business Improvement District, whose executive director, Lauren Collins, called the initiative “a substantial improvement to the Church Avenue shopping experience.”
The move was also backed by Community Board 14, whose district manager, Doris Ortiz, said, “The City of New York is delivering exactly what Church Avenue needs to keep it thriving.”