Thursday, February 25, 2010

City Reverses Course and Removes Eliot Ave Meters

By Conor Greene

Members of the 75th Street Block Association were successful in their push to have the city remove seven parking meters recently installed along Eliot Avenue.

Without warning, the city Department of Transportation installed the meters on the north side of Eliot Avenue between Lutheran Avenue and 74th Street in Middle Village last November. The decision made the spots virtually useless to 75th Street residents, who used to park there when their dead-end block was full.

After residents appealed to Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Community Board 5, DOT crews removed the meters late last week, according to block association members Frank Toomey, Mike White and Dmytro Fedkowskyj.

“We’re reasonable people, and when you drive by and see empty meters all the time, you wonder why they’re there,” said White, adding that he is not surprised the DOT agreed to remove them, considering they weren’t generating much revenue. “Nobody was parking there,” he added. “That’s seven additional spots, and it doesn’t sound like a lot, but seven spots is seven spots.”

The residents have now turned their attention to four meters on the south side of the avenue they say are also unnecessary. There are three additional meters near Phillies Pizza that White said make sense to have, but the four closer to Lutheran Avenue that aren’t in front of businesses should be removed in his view.

One result of the new meters, according to residents, was spillover of drivers searching for spots in front of homes on nearby residential blocks such as 74th Street. “Our densely populated neighborhood got back some free parking spots that mean a great deal to the neighborhood,” said Fedkowskyj, who thanked Crowley, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano and the block association for their efforts. “More importantly, this action sends a message to city officials that we’re watching what you do within our community,” added Fedkowskyj.

“It was unreasonable to have parking meters in an area that is mostly residential,” said Crowley. “That is why I asked the [DOT] to review this area and they understood our po- sition and acted accordingly.”

A DOT spokeswoman said the meters were installed after a survey was conducted at the request of a local business. She confirmed that the meters on the south side of the avenue will remain, while, those on the north side were removed to restore general parking. The DOT refused to reveal to either Crowley or The Forum which business had submitted the request for meters.

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