Two New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives visited the December meeting of Community Board 18 (CB18) for a public hearing on the department’s plan to install parking meters on Quentin Road between Marine Parkway and East 37th Street in Marine Park.
The December 21st meeting had a long agenda, but the public hearing was what drew a good half of the attendees.
Many of the Marine Park residents who showed up to voice their thoughts on the meter matter were not regular attendees of the community board meetings and came just for that particular discussion. This caused some issues, as these attendees did not know the board’s system and kept bringing up the meters during unrelated conversations, much to the frustration of the board members.
The public hearing itself became heated as attendees spoke very critically of the DOT’s plan, some even saying the department had started the process sneakily without alerting the community and asking for input first.
“I think the main concern is, we want to know where the initial request came from,” CB18 First Vice Chair Greg Borruso said. “Typically, requests come for parking or any kind of transportation issues. Typically, they go through the community board and we know ahead of time what’s going to happen, and we can let the community figures know. This one got snuck in — and I say snuck in because nobody knew about it.”
Marine Park residents listed various reasons against the meters, such as taking parking away from P.S. 222 teachers and Quentin Road residents and discouraging customers who drive from shopping at Quentin Road stores.
“There’s more serious problems than getting parking meters,” one 30-year-long Marine Park resident said at the hearing. “I come home at seven in the morning and I cannot find a spot. Now you’re going to put meters in, and I work nights. Now, I have to get up and move the car every time I need to because there’s a meter in front of my house.”
Another concern that was voiced was that the current businesses never asked for the meters, which the DOT said they did in an email to concerned residents and local officials.
“I am a physical therapist. Most of my patients are elderly — where are they going to park?” Sam Molos, owner of Rebound Physical Therapy on the corner of Quentin Road and East 32nd Street, said. “If you’re going to put meters in, these people on fixed incomes, they’re going to have to pay to park to come to my office. It’s hard enough that every insurance company in this world now is charging up a copay, deductibles and everything else, but on top of that, to come to my office, they’re going to have to pay extra.”
In actuality, one community board member said, it was a former business owner from around 10 years ago who put in the meter request. The DOT representatives did not confirm this statement.
After just four residents got to share their thoughts on the meters, DOT Deputy Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Claudette Workman shut down the public hearing, saying she had heard enough and understood that the meters were not wanted by the community.
“We don’t need to have any more questions, to be totally honest,” she said. “I get it. It’s very clear; the meters are not wanted, everyone’s against them . . . At this point, I understand. I will take this back to the commissioner and let him know this is not wanted.”
Following Workman’s announcement, Democratic District Leader Frank Seddio told the audience that the meters were definitely not happening, as per his meeting with the DOT that morning.
The Canarsie Courier asked Workman about Seddio’s statement, and she said that it still needed to be discussed with the DOT commissioner and nothing was confirmed as of yet. However, it seems very likely that the parking meters plan will not be brought to fruition.
Other matters of business discussed at the meeting included a programs and events update from Parks Committee Chairperson Nancy Walby, a vote on the Capital & Expense Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 and liquor license approvals and denials for six local businesses.
The next meeting of CB18 will take place on Wednesday, January 18th at 7 p.m. at 1097 Bergen Avenue, as well as virtually via WebEx.