DOT Offers No Reasoning Behind Sudden Action on Eliot Avenue
By Conor Greene
A group of Middle Village residents living on streets off Eliot Avenue are frustrated over the city’s recent decision to install parking meters in an area they previously relied on as a safe, reliable option for parking.
According to residents of 75th Street, the city Department of Transportation suddenly installed the meters along Eliot Avenue between 74th Street and Lutheran Avenue about two weeks ago. Since there are no businesses along that stretch, the parking spaces now sit empty the majority of the time during the week. The spots are now virtually useless to 75th Street residents, who used to park there when their dead-end block was full.
Adding insult to the situation is the fact that the DOT installed the meters with no advance warning to the residents, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley or Community Board 5. Even worse, several residents who parked there before the meters were installed returned to their cars to find tickets on their windshields, according to residents.
The issue was raised at last week’s CB 5 meeting by Dmytro Fedkowskyj of the 75th Street Block Association, who said it is “appalling that members of the community are subjected to impacting and neighborhood change without notification from the city.” He adds that he can “only assume that the genius behind this project never surveyed the area before installing these useless meters,” which go unused from Sunday night to Saturday night “while the rest of Eliot Avenue looks like a parking lot.”
After residents contacted her office, Crowley wrote to the DOT asking who had requested that the meters be installed. She was told she had to submit a letter under the Freedom of Information Law to find out who made the request and is still awaiting a response. In her letter, she noted that the meters “are not needed in this residential area as they provide nothing positive for the community” since there are no stores nearby “where parking meters would be beneficial.”
The DOT press office was unable to provide information to The Forum by press time on Tuesday, including regarding who requested the meters. While the problem has impacted 75th Street residents who used to park there, it has also led to frustration along 74th Street as drivers have begun to head there in search of free parking.
A group of residents gathered along Eliot Avenue on Saturday, at which point the entire stretch of parking was predictably empty. Several drivers pulled up but then drove away when they realized that meters had been installed. “It’s one hundred percent uncalled for – it’s a residential area,” said 75th Street Block Association member Mike White.
“We don’t know why these meters are there,” added Dennis White, president of the block association. “It a burden on the residential areas.”