More parking spaces! DOT to remove old meters

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is coming to Bay Ridge and other southern Brooklyn neighborhoods to take out old, outdated parking meters, according to a City Council candidate, who said the removal of the old, single-space meters will free up much needed parking spaces in congested areas.

You’ll still have to pay to park on commercial strips in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst, but you’ll use a muni-meter instead of the old, single space parking meters that people had to drop quarters into, said John Quaglione, a Republican-Conservative who is running for the council seat covering the three communities.

The removal of the old meters is good news, Quaglione said, because there is room for more cars to park on a block with a muni-meter than there were under the old meters. Under the old system, it was one meter per car.

“There is no denying that we need more parking in our neighborhood, to support our businesses and our quality of life, and I believe the removal of these meter posts will help ease some of the burden,” Quaglione said.

Even though DOT installed muni-meters on Third, Fifth, 13th and 18th Avenues and 86th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway more than a year ago, the agency left the old meters in place on many blocks. As a result, many drivers still use the old meters as guideposts to judge how much space they had to park, Quaglione said. Fewer cars fit on the block, he said.

Quaglione, who wrote to DOT in April to request the removal of the old meters, said he received a reply last week. The letter he received from DOT also indicated that some of the meter posts will remain and retrofitted as bike racks, he said.

In his April letter, Quaglione also expressed concern about malfunctioning muni-meters. In its response, DOT stated that all muni-meters are checked on a daily basis through a computer system for any defects or paper shortages. The meters are also physically inspected twice a month, officials told Quaglione.

“I can now report to the people who talk me to every day about muni-meters, that the city does keep a check on them, and additionally, proudly say that more parking is on the way, “ Quaglione said.

In another transportation-related issue, Quaglione said he sent a letter to the DOT requesting a traffic study for the intersection of Colonial Road and 91st Street, which he called a dangerous intersection in need of a traffic light or some other traffic-calming measure.

“This is a dangerous intersection for the many seniors who walk up this block on a regular basis to and from Shore Hill senior housing.  We need the city to look at this intersection and see what traffic calming device is warranted here, so to make this safer for all motorists and pedestrians,” he said.

Shore Hill, a senior citizens apartment house sponsored by Lutheran HealthCare, is located at 9000 Shore Road, but it has entrances on 91st Street between Shore Road and Colonial Road.

Quaglione is running in the November election against incumbent Democrat Vincent Gentile. Gentile, a popular, well-liked councilman who has served since 2003, is seeking his third full term in office.

In May, Gentile was a co-sponsor of a bill to ease motorists' woes with malfunctioning muni-meters. Under the bill, which was passed by the council, the meters will be reprogrammed so that they do not accept money when they are not working properly. The muni-meters will also not accept payment on the days when parking regulations are not in effect.