Southern Brooklyn

A lot of money: Prices spike at city-owned parking garages

May 31, 2019 Yoav Gonen and Jose Martinez, THE CITY
A municipal parking garage in the Lower East Side announces a monthly rate hike. Photo: Jose Martinez /THE CITY
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This story was originally published on May 31 by THE CITY.

It’s not just subway and bus riders who are getting pinched in the wallet.

Drivers who stash their wheels at 15 city-owned garages and lots will be hit with increased monthly or quarterly fees on July 1 that are spiking by more than 50 percent at some locations.

“I’m going from $300 a month to $500 a month — and I have two parking spaces,” said Joseph Mizrahi, 82, who parks at the Delancey & Essex Municipal Garage on the Lower East Side. “But what can I do?”

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The looming 66 percent increase for a monthly parking permit at that five-story garage is the steepest in the five boroughs. Mizrahi said he can’t avoid the pain because he uses the vehicles for his business.

“If it were going up a hundred dollars, I would understand — this neighborhood is changing and wealthier people are moving in,” said Mona Lemagnen, 48, who also uses the Delancey garage. “But going from $300 to $500 is too much.”

Signs with the new rates recently appeared throughout the garage — followed by fliers left on windshields urging drivers to “Contact your elected officials!” in protest of an increase that came “with little notification.”

“I have to pay for two parking spaces. What can I do?” said Joseph Mizrahi, 82. Photo by Jose Martinez /THE CITY

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said elected officials and community boards with municipal parking facilities in their districts were notified of the increases last week. The spokesperson, Alana Morales, added that rates at the city’s parking facilities are “significantly lower” than at comparable locations.

“As demand for parking in the city increases, rates must be adjusted to manage the demand associated with limited supply,” she said. “This rate increase coincides with the citywide on-street parking rate increase that went into effect late 2018.”

Price hikes vary

At the Court Square Municipal Garage in Queens, the monthly permit will go from $200 to $300 — a 50 percent increase — while one at the Staten Island Courthouse Garage and Parking Lot will jump from $70 to $100. The smallest increase will be at the Bay Ridge Municipal Parking Garage in Brooklyn, where the monthly permit will go up 12 percent, from $200 to $225.

Brooklyn City Councilmember Chaim Deutsch said the increases are too much at once. Prices at two lots in his district — one on Brighton 4th Street and another on East 17th Street — are rising for the first time since 2002.

“You can’t just hit people at once and say, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to do, we’re raising your rates, and have a nice day,’ ” said Deutsch, who plans to challenge the increases.

Fees also are slated to rise at municipal parking fields where drivers pay for quarterly permits.

Drivers who park at city-owned lots in Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay and Flushing will see their quarterly permits go from $150 to $230 — a 53 percent increase. At a lot in Brighton Beach, the fee will hit $500 — up from $330.

At the Bayside Municipal Parking Field in Queens, a quarterly permit will now cost $400, up from $270. A pair of lots on Staten Island — in Great Kills and New Dorp — will see their permits go up to $90, a $30 increase.

Glenn Kessler, who parks his Honda at the Brighton Beach Municipal Parking Field in Brooklyn, said the city’s embrace of higher parking fees and congestion pricing are the result of not acting quickly enough to limit traffic.

“Nobody around here is against reasonable increases of 3 percent to 5 percent,” said Kessler, 57. “But they go to sleep at the wheel and then every 10 years they try to hit us over the head with a hammer.”

The head of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group, said that’s the price drivers pay in a crowded city.

“Driving an automobile in our congested city imposes external costs on every New Yorker,” said Marco Conner, the group’s interim executive director. “If higher parking fees encourage people to use other modes, that’s a good thing.”

This story was originally published by THE CITY, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.

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