By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Drivers who try to park their cars on Bay Ridge’s shopping strips are often thwarted by busted muni-meters, according to a City Council candidate who wants the city to fix the problem.
John Quaglione, a Republican-Conservative candidate for Bay Ridge’s council seat against incumbent Democrat Vincent Gentile, said motorists are forced to waste time hunting for working muni-meters after they’ve parked their cars. In some cases, drivers have had to walk two blocks to find a meter that works, he said.
Quaglione, who has written to Brooklyn Transportation Commissioner Joseph Palmieri about the problem, said there’s a simple solution. He called on Palmieri to send more inspectors out onto the streets to make sure the muni-meters are in good working order and that the non-working meters are repaired as quickly as possible.
“The idea of having the muni-meters is to have more room for more cars to park on a block. But you’re not making it easier for the driver if the muni-meter doesn’t work,” Quaglione told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“As I travel throughout the 43rd Council District, I cannot begin to tell you how many complaints I have heard about muni-meters that do not work. This is not only frustrating to motorists, but to storeowners as well, who need these meters to work for the convenience of their customers,” he said.
Over the past few years, muni-meters have been installed on 86th Street, Third Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Fort Hamilton Parkway, 13th Avenue and 18th Avenue in southwest Brooklyn.
Quaglione also have a beef with the New York City Department of Transportation over what he called the slow removal of the old, individual space parking meter from Bay Ridge’s commercial strips like Third Avenue.
Many blocks that have muni-meters also have the old meters too, he said.
It’s a problem, Quaglione said, because drivers tend to park in line with the old meters, even though they are no longer operable. “You can fit more cars on the street with the muni-meters than the old meters. But if drivers are parking as if the old meters still rule, you wind up with fewer parking spaces,” he said.
It’s not as if motorists think they have to put money in the old meters, he said. “But when you see a parking meter there, you tend to line up your car accordingly when you park,” he said.
Quaglione is calling on the DOT to expedite the removal of the old meters to avoid confusion for drivers. “Removal of the old parking meters will allow the purpose of muni-meters to take flight in our neighborhood and create additional parking spaces along our commercial corridors,” the candidate said. “Until these original meters are removed, the goal of muni-meters to create additional parking will not be achieved,” he said.
Scott Gastel, a spokesman for the DOT, said the agency has a good track record when it comes to making sure muni-meters work. At any givne time, 99 percent of the muni-meters are working, he said. The agency also strives to repair non-working meters as quickly as possible, he said.
Gastel urged residents who know of a non-working muni-meter to report the location to 311.
On the removal of the old meters, Gastel said they are scheduled to be removed later this month.