Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso stopped by the December meeting of the Marine Park Community Association to discuss the hotly-contested Department of Transportation (DOT) initiative to install parking meters on Quentin Road. The community association also celebrated with a holiday party at its final meeting of the year.
Reynoso led a discussion at the December 20th meeting, held at the Carmine Carro Community Center, centered around how the community could try to stop meters from being installed on Quentin Road, between Marine Parkway and East 37th Street.
His primary suggestion was to press the DOT for another reason for the meters other than to create parking spot turnover, which was the main reason the agency said it was going to install them. He said it’s been proven that meters don’t actually increase turnover of spots — they just cost people money.
“The real thing is that meters actually don’t assist in turning over car traffic,” Reynoso said. “They just make it so that the business owners and the workers that traditionally use the parking spaces are just feeding the meters on an hourly basis.”
Based on this, the DOT’s argument for putting the meters on the mixed residential and commercial stretch is invalid, according to Reynoso.
“They need to give you another reason; it cannot be the turnover of vehicles,” he said. “So, I’m just helping you guys out, making sure you’re looking for more.”
Residents at the meeting voiced concerns, citing multiple reasons against the plan.
One reason was that it would remove parking for faculty and staff members of P.S. 222, which is located on Quentin Road, between East 33rd and 34th Streets. Another concern was how it would affect the local businesses, since some customers might choose to shop at businesses where they can park for free. It could also make it harder for business owners and workers to park while at work.
On top of that was the concern of parking for residents who live on Quentin Road, since the street is not solely commercial.
“You wonder if there’s a big turnover or if the city’s just trying to make more money by charging exorbitant parking,” Sal Starapola, an attendee of the meeting, said. “If I’m going to go to the store and I want to go in for a half-hour but I’m in there 40 minutes and I put in a half-hour’s worth of quarters and I get a ticket for $50 or whatever the rate is today, am I going to go back to those stores? I’m going to go to a store where I could park, get in and out.”
The borough president reminded the attendees that he was supporting them on the issue and that he looked forward to working with them in the future. “I always end all my meetings with, ‘Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way,’ and I really do love you,” Reynoso said. “I want you to know that I really do love you. I want you to know that I have your back.”
Democratic District Leader Frank Seddio also spoke at the meeting, giving encouragement to residents to stand with each other against the meters. He also mentioned that there would be a public hearing on the subject the following day at the December Community Board 18 meeting.
“Like everything else in Marine Park, the people make the difference,” Seddio said. “If there’s a problem in Marine Park, I love the way people here come together, bring it out, make noise and that’s how things get done. That squeaky wheel always gets the grease, and you guys are the best squeakers in the whole district.”