Feb. 21, 2014 By Michael Florio
The owners of a parking garage that opened on Astoria Boulevard just two months ago are already facing criticism that they are charging too much.
The garage, which is located behind the George T. Douris Tower on Hoyt Avenue South and is owned by the nonprofit HANAC, offers both monthly and hourly parking.
Residents have taken exception to the hourly rate which until Feb. 20 had been $4 per hour. HANAC, under pressure, has lowered it to $2 per hour.
However, for many, the $2 rate remains far too high.
The garage offers 25 hourly parking spaces, with 34 rented on a monthly basis.
However, the number of hourly parking spots might increase to 45 if the operator introduces a valet parking service.
The parking lot was built to replace the loss of a municipal parking lot several years ago– since HANAC took over the city parking lot to build senior housing.
Therefore, at the Community Board 1 meeting, some board members claimed that the HANAC was charging too much for hourly parking (compared to municipal street parking) and therefore was not doing the community a service.
John Napolitano, director of community development with HANAC, said that the company tried to offer rates similar to what’s charged at a municipal lot. However, he said, with insurance and operational costs, those rates could not be matched.
Despite lowering the hourly prices to $2, residents and board members were far from satisfied. The board had an understanding that it would be the same price as street meters given the history of the site.
“It is still a 200% increase from street parking,” said Vinicio Donato, chairperson of community board one. “It is far from it.”
The board’s traffic and safety committee plans to sit down with HANAC to see if they can still adjust the rates.