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Residential Parking Permits Proposed By Local Group; Would Face Uphill Battle, Constantinides Says

crowded parking

April 1, 2016 By Michael Florio

A local group has an idea to solve Astoria’s parking problem: residential permits.

The Old Astoria Neighborhood Association intends to develop a plan to put residential parking permits into effect in the neighborhood. The group held preliminary discussions on the topic at its monthly meeting Tuesday.

The residential parking permits would allow only residents to park on their blocks overnight. This system would ensure residents a parking space near their homes and save them from having to drive around searching for one, OANA President Richard Khuzami said.

“It is a way for residents to make sure they have a place to park every night,” he said.

He also floated the idea of varying the time that each permit goes into effect block by block.

“If a block has a lot of commercial shops it could start at, say, 9 p.m.,” he suggested.

Khuzami said that he just wanted to start the discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.

During the meeting, residents complained about the difficulty of finding a parking space in the neighborhood, particularly at night. One resident said that people will often park on blocks that do not have alternate side parking and leave their cars for days or weeks, even months in some cases.

“People dump their cars and go on vacation for a month at a time,” one resident said. “When you call the cops they come and say they aren’t going to give them a ticket.”

Following the discussion, the OANA will now look to form a committee to further research this plan and whether it is feasible. Subsequently the organization will develop a more formal proposal, according to Khuzami.

The organization may look into creating a petition and collecting signatures from residents.

Community Board 1 Chair Joe Risi advised the OANA to create a proposal and present it to the Board’s transportation committee following their research. The plan could then go before the Board.

The OANA would then look into bringing this proposal to agencies and elected officials.

However, Council Member Costa Constantinides believes that this proposal would face an uphill battle in Albany, as was the fate of parking permit legislation introduced in 2011.

For this plan to ultimately pass the State legislature would need to approve it, which Constantinides envisions would be a very difficult task.

“We are hamstrung by a State Senate that is controlled by Senators that do not live in the NYC area and are not interested in doing things for NYC residents,” he said. “Our local State Senators are great, but unfortunately they are in the minority right now.”

Constantinides could not say whether he believes the idea would work in Astoria specifically before any legislation is passed.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas declined to comment on this story.

Residential parking permit systems have been set up in other cities, where residents pay an annual fee. San Francisco charges $111 annually, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority; Khuzami said that based on his research, this is one of the more expensive fees.

Risi said that this fee could make the plan difficult to go forward with.

“It is more money out of the homeowners for the luxury of parking in front of their homes,” he said. “Other alternatives, such as more parking rules and enforcement, could be looked into.”

However, Khuzami believes that residents would pay this fee in order to obtain a permit.

“Time is money, and plenty is wasted looking to find parking,” Khuzami said.

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19 Comments

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George

There are a lot of people who come to Astoria to patronize the local businesses, and meters are a bit restrictive – 2 hours is okay for restaurants, but what if you’re going to a theater production for example, and want to hang out afterward? Also, what are you going to do if a resident wants to have someone come over and visit, stay overnight? You need more garages in Astoria. Then you can give the residents the street and force the visitors to use the garage. That is what they do in Hoboken. It also generates more tax revenue for the city.

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Patrick Merino

All the movie & tv crews do not help either… time they find another hood to use as backdrop… bikers should also be licensed for the privilege of using the streets and learn the rules of the road…the sidewalks are for walking not riding … if you own a home in Astoria the spot in front of your home should be yours to use with a no fee permit… we already pay enough in property taxes…

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Gloria

The idea sounds good, but benefit only the owners of private houses, and they don’t think about the people who lives in buildings. I struggle a lot looking for parking every day; when my building has a big parking lot, but they don’t want it to rented to “second drivers” and people on the streets park holding two spots, Also On The streets there’s a lot of car with Connecticut plates, NC, Florida some with no plates, and police said they can do nothing, means everything is unfair, most of the people pay taxes too.

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Eileen

Why don’t they just mark the spots on the road. So many people take up more than one spot and it’s especially frustrating on alt side parking days. I am tired of driving around for an hour plus to find a spot. Something has to be done.

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Guy 47

@Eileen:
Why don’t they just mark the spots on the road?

Because that is a crazy idea. Do you mark the spots for 220 inch SUVs or for a 145 inch FIAT 500?
A 220 inch SUV pulls out of a spot and a 170 inch compact car pulls in. Yeah, there is now 50 inches of dead space. Do this a couple of times and it is going to look like someone is hogging a space but did not intentionally hog the space.
Most people don’t block two spots on purpose.

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Richard Khuzami, President OANA

I would like to clarify OANA’s criteria for this initiative:
1. OANA is not endorsing any plan at this point, just investigating whether such a plan is feasible and would solve the parking issues in Old Astoria.
2. Any plan must be environmentally friendly
3. Any plan must not harm, and hopefully will help any commercial business (Including restaurants, bars, and catering halls)
4. Any increase in the bureaucracy must be kept to a minimum
5. Any fees must be compared to time savings to determine feasibility.

Some cities reserve particular spots for residents, others just have zones that residents can park in. There are many possibilities. Whatever makes the most sense!

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John

I personally do not like the street parking residential permits. It never seems to work as intended. It’s expensive and time consuming to maintain. Someone has to manage all the permits.

You have to prove you live somewhere with a utility bill then a lease and mortgage and usually this has to be in person M-F from 9-4:30pm. It becomes a hassle.

You have to do this annually. Do you get guest passes or not?

If permits can be done online with a 24hr turn around and the user can print the passes off then I’d be more ok with it. If I have to go somewhere to get the permits then no way. It also has to be expensive so people really think about if they need the car. $200 a year $100 per guest pass.

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Cass

This is the same for Woodside (near Astoria border). Would love to see our neighborhood be included in this pursuit. We also have a local car dealership across the street and they use our street to park cars that are awaiting service b/c their lot is overflowing. We literally drive around wasting time and gas looking for parking and end up parked 3 blocks away carrying kids and packages in the rain. It’s very unfair that people leave their cars for days and days while we struggle with this problem daily.

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hali

Next people will try to get rid of their front gardens and demand to be able to park on the sidewalk by their homes. Some have tried this idea only to be ratted out by a neighbor and then be given a violation from the city.

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Harry Ballsagana

Get rid of your cars. Astoria is an area with many great public transportation options, and very bike friendly.

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humm

Nice but sounds very confusing. Nowadays, one family homes are rare in Astoria. Who would the space belong to? the absentee landlord so he can rent the space to the highest bidder? (Just made an ex.) But seriously, I live by a busy area, which area in Astoria does not have alternate side parking? who will tow the car for going beyond 9 pm? All the major Avenues in Astoria are filled with people and shops. May work in Astoria Heights but i do not know where else.

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justsaying

Parking is a big issue for Astoria Residents. I see how Constantinides was particularly careful with his words not to upset the voting public.

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Mohammed T Rahman

I think residential permit parking is the way to go for the Astorians. Spent up to two hours once looking for parking in my own neighborhood. There are cars left parked indefinitely on my block and other blocks nearby where there’s no cleaning…meanwhile we homeowners suffer driving around looking for a spot. Also, there are people without sense of consideration, who park their vehicles occupying more than a spot, I feel that it’s a significant issue that also needs to be addressed.

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Jake

I agree. Would be nice to not see so many parking spaces taken out by cars with out of state plates too.

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George

Constantinides wants to get cars off the streets, not give them a place to park. Bike lanes, slow zones and speed bumps are his priority.

I’d happily pay $120 a year to be able to not have to drive around for an hour after work to park five blocks from my home.

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Jay

I completely agree. Spots are taken away in so many places, near Astoria park, 21st and Hoyt Ave, for example, for the sake of public safety meanwhile I often find people crossing on the middle of the street disregarding on coming traffic

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Cass

yep had a kid flip me the bird when I honked at him for stepping into the street while he was walking and texting.

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