BOERUM HILL — A ban on rush-hour parking along busy Atlantic Avenue will be lifted after complaints from store owners over the loss of business, officials said.
The parking restriction — currently in effect from 4 to 7 p.m. on the south side of Atlantic Avenue between Smith Street and Third Avenue — will be eliminated starting in July.
Josef Szende, director of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District, said the parking ban was one of the most frequent complaints made by the strip's business owners, who told him that the restriction has significantly hindered their work.
“We relieved the parking that people who have helped organize the BID have been pushing for,” Szende said. “It was one of our top priorities, and it seems the DOT listened and understands our concerns, and has given up parking that we suggested we needed.”
Beginning July, the current "No Standing" regulation on eastbound Atlantic Avenue will be removed, meaning the stretch will get three-hour metered parking at nearly 100 parking spaces.
The Department of Transportation said it will implement other changes on the strip to improve traffic flow, including an increase in green signal time for eastbound Atlantic Avenue.
According to the DOT, the change will reduce the need for the third eastbound rush hour traffic lane, which is to be replaced with parking.
There will also be new "No Left Turn" restrictions on eastbound Atlantic Avenue at Smith Street on weekdays, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a full ban on left turns from Atlantic Avenue onto Bond and Hoyt streets.
The effort to lift the parking ban was led by several community groups, including Community Board 2, but spearheaded by the president of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association (AABA), which introduced the idea, advocates said.
“Residents of Boerum Hill are pleased about this development,” said Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association. “It will support the businesses on Atlantic Avenue and also provide a much-needed safety buffer for pedestrians.
"Sandy Balboza [of AABA] had been pushing for this for more than a decade. She deserves an award for perseverance.”
“Atlantic Avenue is a destination retail strip that people would drive or take the subway to,” said Robert Parris, district manager of Community Board 2.
“When people drive and they have to be watching the clock as they shop, they might decide to shop some place else. It was a burden to merchants. [The ban] really didn’t seem to be of any benefit to drivers.”