ASTORIA — A parking lot that was intended to make up for spaces lost several years ago by the construction of a nearby housing development, opened last week after years of delays.
"This is about five years in the making, at least," said Astoria City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., who originally negotiated for the two-level parking lot at Astoria Boulevard and 29th Street as part of a deal for the construction of the adjacent George Douris Tower, a senior housing facility that opened in 2009.
The development, run by the nonprofit HANAC, was built on a former municipal parking lot at 27-40 Hoyt Ave. South, and the loss of those parking spaces upset nearby residents and local businesses, according to news reports at the time.
"Part of the deal was that this parking lot would replace the pubic parking lot that was here," Vallone said.
But opening the 59-space replacement lot — about two-thirds of the size of the original— was mired with delays, in part because poles and utilities had to be moved at the site, the councilman said.
"There were problems with Verizon, problems with Time Warner, problems with DOT," said Vallone, who described the delays as a "bureaucratic nightmare."
The new lot is smaller than the original municipal lot, though Vallone says the former space had typically been only about two-thirds full at a given time.
The new parking lot is owned by HANAC and run by Central Parking System, and charges a fee for its spaces, 33 of which will be long-term rentals, costing $225 a month. Daily rates are $4 an hour, or $18 for up to 24 hours, according to HANAC.