Price of Parking in City Lots to Spike Under New Budget
CITY HALL — Fees at some of the city's municipal lots are set to spike by more than 100 percent this summer — including across areas ravaged by Sandy.
Officials from the Department of Transportation said during a City Council hearing Tuesday that the city intends to boost rates on July 1 unless the council intervenes.
In New Dorp and Great Kills Staten Island, lot prices would jump a whopping 150 percent, from $60 to $150 a quarter. In the Far Rockaways, in Queens, one lot could jump 233 percent, from $30 to $100.
"Don't you think that an increase of 100 to 120 percent is just devastating to people who count on these parking spaces?," said the council's transportation chair James Vacca during a hearing on the department's budget.
He said that many people in his Bronx district rely on the local city lot and have nowhere else to park their cars.
"100 percent becomes ominous to a lot of people — low income, working people who depend on these spots," he said.
DOT First Deputy Commissioner Lori Ardito said she understood the amount might sound "extreme," but that the lots would still cost far less than the competition.
"We still will be substantially, much lower than what is out there today at market rate," she said. noting that the rate for many lots haven't increased for several years.
But Vacca slammed the plan as part of a larger effort by a car-hating DOT to punish drivers, whom he said felt "under siege."
"Do you think that people who own cars have horns?" he asked. "Do you understand there are people in this city who have a car as a matter of necessity? Do you want them to turn in their divers licenses on mass," he said.
The DOT had originally proposed the cuts last year, but limited the amount to 20 percent after council objections. Vacca urged the city to reconsider again this time.
Vacca also criticized DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan for failing to show up at the annual budget hearing — complaining it was part of a troubling pattern.
Officials said that Sadik-Khan was in Washington, D.C. for a meeting with the federal transportation secretary — but Vacca seemed unimpressed.
“Oftentimes arranging meetings with the commissioner on a convenient date for her is difficult," he said.
“If Ray Kelly can come to an oversight hearing, I think Commissioners Sadik-Khan can come to an oversight hearing," he said.
Council members also raised concerns at the hearing about bike law enforcement, and why muni-meters accept money even when they're out of paper.
Earlier, members complained about smelly cabs and badly-maintained subway stations, with dirty tiles and peeling paint.