The city is slamming drivers with $100 tickets for parking in a Fourth Avenue “loading zone” during the day — even though some signs actually indicate that parking is legal!
The three-spot zone in question was set up in November in front of the new Goustaro market between 92nd and 93rd streets, where one sign reads, “Loading zone. No parking. 7 am–4 pm.”
Just underneath that sign is another sign which indicates that legal two-hour parking is in effect from 8:30 am–7 pm.
“They’re soaking people for 100 dollars — that the most expensive ticket you can get,” said Stan Lubowicki, who goes to a gym nearby and has watched drivers feed the meter, yet still get slapped with the city’s Scarlet Letter (which is actually blaze orange).
Other drivers are enraged because the loading dock is not even necessary.
“Goustaro is not a supermarket; there’s a million little stores around here and they don’t have loading zones,” said Marie Yemma. “I don’t know how they got it.”
Goustaro owner Ted Moustakas knows how he got it: He asked the city for it, and the city created it for him. And he said that the zone is vital because he gets deliveries several times a day. Without it, he said, truckers would double-park, risking tickets and causing tie-ups.
“Most grocery stores only get one delivery,” he said. “I have a bunch of distributors.”
Moustakas said that he had initially requested that a loading zone be installed on 93rd Street, but the Department of Transportation put it on Fourth Avenue after getting complaints.
“It should have just been left on the side,” he said. “I’m the new guy on the block. I didn’t mean to start off on the wrong foot.”
This one small loading dock is a symbol of a much larger issue in the neighborhood, where parking is in short supply.
“We should at least be notified when a loading zone is going in,” said Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, who objected to the city’s murky method for awarding loading zones. “We would like to hear what the criteria is.”
A city spokesman said that the agency reviews every loading dock to decide if it is necessary.
“We review loading activity in the area to determine if a new zone could help alleviate congestion and reduce double parking,” said Transportation spokesman Monty Dean.
“We are happy to work with the community to address any questions or concerns.”
Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at @dsmacleod.