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14-Hour Spaces Turn Sunnyside Into Parking Lot for Long Islanders, Pol Says

 A 14-hour metered parking spot on Queens Boulevard under the 7 train tracks.
A 14-hour metered parking spot on Queens Boulevard under the 7 train tracks.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

SUNNYSIDE — A local lawmaker wants the city to do away with 14-hour parking spots under the 7 train tracks, citing complaints from constituents that the spaces are serving commuters more than residents.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris is asking the Department of Transportation to revaluate the parking rules in the Queens Boulevard lots beneath the elevated train line, from 38th to 44th street.

While most of the metered spots there have a four-hour limit, many allow for drivers to park up to 14 hours at a time — a draw for commuters from Long Island and elsewhere looking for an all-day spot where they can take the subway into Manhattan, the lawmaker says.

"We don't like the parking rules that basically tell people to come drive their cars to Sunnyside, leave them here and go to work," Gianaris said at a recent community meeting.

"This neighborhood stands on its own, and is growing on its own," he added. 

"We shouldn't be a parking lot for people — from whether it's Long Island or wherever they're coming from — to come and drop their cars off so they can hop the subway, which is already crowded, to get into Manhattan."

Sunnyside residents echoed his worries.

"It's really, really bad," said Franziska Schmidt, who's lived in the neighborhood since 1973 and noted that parking got worse when the city added muni meters on Queens Boulevard.

Difficulty finding a parking spot in the area has even deterred family members from visiting her, she said.

"It's really rough," said Jose Gomez, another longtime Sunnyside resident who was feeding the meter for a parking spot beneath the 7 train on a recent weekday.

Gomez often drives to Queens Boulevard to run errands at neighborhood shops, but has to compete for a parking space with drivers whose cars sit there for hours, he said.

"One person takes it for a whole day or night," he said. "People take advantage."

The DOT has received Gianaris' request and will be reviewing it, a spokesman for the agency said.