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City Proposes PARK Smart Plan to Free Up Parking in Jackson Heights

By Paul DeBenedetto | September 28, 2012 7:20pm

JACKSON HEIGHTS — When Mohammed Arman, a 30-year-old student from Jackson Heights, takes a trip to the store or to visit a friend, he has to take a few extra things into account.

First, there's the half-hour ritual of circling the blocks of Jackson Heights to find an elusive open space. Then, he says, there's the time it takes to walk from the spot to his end destination, which will inevitably be blocks away from each other.

"After 9 a.m., you can't park," Arman said of the neighborhood. "We have to walk four, five, six blocks."

Now the city thinks they've come up with a solution to problems like Arman's. The Department of Transportation has proposed a new PARK Smart parking plan designed to address parking problems throughout the community.

The plan, which is waiting for approval from the local community board, would alter pricing, time limits and hours of operation for Jackson Heights meters, ultimately addressing the unique difficulties Jackson Heights drivers face, DOT Queens Borough Commisioner Maura McCarthy said.

"Of any area, I think this is an area in which it would be helpful," McCarthy said of the plan.

According to the DOT, the plan would increase the time limits on parking meters from one hour to two hours on 74th Street between 37th Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue, and on Roosevelt Avenue from 74th Street to 82nd Street.

But whereas now a 60-minute stop will cost you $1, under a new, "progressive rate" plan, some meters would be bumped up to $1.50. A two-hour stay would cost $4.00.

In addition, meters on that stretch of 74th Street, as well as meters on 37th Road, would shut off at 10 p.m. instead of the current 7 p.m.

Similar pilot programs were rolled out to Greenwich VIllage in 2008 and Park Slope in 2009. In Park Slope, the number of unique vehicles parked at curb spots increased by 18 percent, while traffic volumes decreased by 7 percent, a DOT spokesman said. The DOT hopes that the proposed changes will have a similar impact in Jackson Heights.

The plan will be voted on at the next Community Board 3 meeting in October. Calls to the community board office were not immediately returned.