Residents fume over car services eating parking spots

July 18, 2012 Editorial Staff
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Are car services that park their vehicles along Third Avenue making it harder for residents to shop and businessowners to serve their customers?

Some Ridgeites think so, contending that between valet parking and car services, not to mention the 92nd Street sinkhole, parking has become a huge problem.

“I spend 45 minutes circling around the block on a daily basis,” said MaryAnne Jason, from Bay Ridge.

“They’ve got to monitor the spaces,” Jim exclaimed while walking at 88th street and Third Avenue.

But, not everybody agreed. Barbara R. said she wasn’t bothered by the current parking issue.

“It doesn’t cause any trouble,” she noted. “I don’t think they impede parking; they might take one or two spots here and there, but they need to work, just like everyone else.”

Merchants in the area also had mixed emotions about parking meters being taken up by car services.

Frank, who works at H&L Bagels at Third and 89th, across from Victory Car Service, said Nobody’s gonna tell you different, around here. He thinks the store loses business when customers cannot park, and that car services should have a parking lot instead of parking in the avenue.

Jimmy from the pizzeria next door did not agree. We’re definitely not [losing business], he said. They’re not hurting us, as they park in the streets [where there are no parking meters].

Chris, who works at Ho’ Brah, doesn’t seem bothered. They come here late, he said. They don’t sit here all day.

Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, said that although the board has not received too many complaints about car services taking up the meters along Third Avenue, she understands the frustration.

“It is definitely not good for business,” she remarked. “They shouldn’t be parking on streets. Rules are that car services are allowed to have a certain amount of time [at parking meters], whether it’s an hour or two. They are required to have off-street parking.”

Is there a solution? Local activist Jack Malone, a retired restaurant owner who currently lives in Marine Park, contends that car services should have designated parking spaces along First Avenue, where “there are plenty of spots.”

The proposal, he thinks, is one way to reduce the congestion.

Victory Car Service manager, Ben Elazm, answered by saying that this is the first time in over 20 years that the car service has received any type of disapproval with the way they do things.

“People always complain,” he noted. “But, when they come and ask, we give up the space.”

Elazm explains that the drivers “do not stay for long. It’s just five minutes—to use the bathroom and eat a little something.

“We understand people’s frustration,” he added, “but you cannot stop them [the drivers]. Some are diabetic and they need to eat frequently and measure their blood sugar.”

Elazm has been the manager for the car service company for six years. He said that he will do anything for the community.

“We even leave quarters on the meters for people, and watch their cars,” he remarked.

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