Boerum Hill

Atlantic Avenue businesses fed up with bogus parking permits

‘They should get tickets!’

August 12, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Photos taken by the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) show a variety of city paraphernalia in the windows of cars parked along Atlantic Avenue. Traffic agents honor this bogus ID and the drivers get all-day free parking, while businesses suffer. Photos by Melissa Duchan, Atlantic Avenue BID
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Businesses on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill are losing customers because so many city workers are using phony permits and other city ID to park for free all day, says the organization that represents more 300 businesses along the avenue.

Parking spaces on block after block of Atlantic, especially near Smith and Hoyt streets, are almost totally taken up by cars belonging to correction officers, Department of Education workers and other city agency employees.

Those who lack official parking permits get a free ride anyway by sticking hats, vests or agency phone books on their dashboard, Josef Szende, executive director of the Atlantic Avenue BID, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday. Traffic agents honor whatever agency workers use – and the city loses tons of revenue.

The epicenter of the problem is the intersection of Smith Street and Atlantic Avenue, Szende said. This is the location of the Brooklyn House of Detention.

“The businesses along Atlantic Avenue are destination businesses,” Szende said. “People need to drive here. It’s the life’s blood of businesses here. When multiple blocks are full bumper to bumper with non-legitimate placards, people decide not to come. They move on and don’t come back.”

In the worst cases, Szende said, people who have appointments they can’t miss — at the veterinarian, for example — are hit with a double whammy.

“Their cost goes up by over $100 because of their double parking fine,” he said. “It all goes back to the placard parkers.”

Even those with legitimate parking permits are supposed to be limited to only three hours of parking. But city employees park for eight hours, or their entire shifts.

Teresa Germinario, a receptionist at One Love Animal Hospital, said that the vet sometimes has to cancel appointments or reschedule them because of the lack of parking.

“It’s nearly impossible,” she told the Eagle. “People become late and can’t come in. It definitely has affected the clientele.”

“The parking situation is horrendous. We’ve been trying to change this for a long time, but nothing ever happens,” the owner of Horseman Antiques, who did not want to be named, told the Eagle. Horseman Antiques has operated on Atlantic Avenue for 52 years.

“It’s impossible to park on the weekend,” he said. “Somebody comes from New York, Staten Island, Queens, and there’s no parking. I used to get 300 people a day on a Saturday or Sunday. Now it’s a ghost town.

“I have 25,000 square feet, I have trucks coming every day, and there’s nowhere to park,” he added.

He also complained that parking meters on Atlantic Avenue charge legitimate parkers double the usual charge.

“How would you like to wait for a space and see all these [bogus] stickers, and then you put your card in the meter and it reads double?”

Szende said the BID has tried working with Councilmember Stephen Levin and Borough President Eric Adams to get the problem fixed, and now would like to call on the new Police Commissioner, Jim O’Neill, to direct the city’s parking enforcement agents to ticket all cars with non-legitimate placards and other items.

NYPD leadership “should be telling them to ticket in these situations,” he said.

A 2011 Transportation Alternatives study found that of 584 parking permits in the entire Downtown Brooklyn area, 330 were legitimate agency permits used to park illegally and 124 were “personal effects masquerading as permits.”

The Eagle has reached out to Councilmember Levin and others for comments. Check back for updates.

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