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Long Island City, NY September 29, 2011 -
US Congressman Joe Crowley told a group gathered for an announcement that "Communities change." It was a simple, but profound observation that echoed under the arches of the 7 Subway line where the press had gathered to hear the official announcement that the community was going to change the parking for both commuter spaces, as well as for regulations that previously restricted parking along the Queens Blvd corridor leading to Manhattan.
The objective was equally simple: Make access to the retail shops and restaurants in Sunnyside possible, and easier for residents and visitors.
Sunnyside merchants are getting a boost from an initiative to change the parking along Queens Blvd. The problem of parking in Sunnyside has apparently been identified for a long time, and organizations like the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and Sunnyside BID have been lobbying for change so that residents and merchants could enjoy the full benefit of the shopping opportunity offered in the community.
A recent Queens Blvd Merchants Initiative lead by Ciaran Staunton, resident of Sunnyside and owner of Molly Blooms, added fuel to the lobbying when it held a kick off meeting in June 2011. A later meeting was held with community leaders, elected officials where Staunton focused attention on the problem with others by touring the area. [ See OurLIC interview with Ciaran Stauton 7/1/2011 ] [ Go to OurLIC Article Sunnyside Queens Blvd Merchants Initiative Started 6/7/2011 ]
Sunnyside is a vibrant community that offers residents from the greater Long Island City area expanded access to retail and access to entertainment and restaurants. Changes in the parking will make it more accessible. The 7 Subway line also makes access to Sunnyside fairly quick and easy.
Sunnyside is an interesting and diverse community. OurLIC RECOMMENDED restaurants and retail near the Queens Blvd area include Bucharest Restaurant, Molly Bloom, and The Parrot Gourmet Market and Coffee store.
Press Release from Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer's Office
NYC DOT COMMISSIONER SADIK-KHAN, COUNCIL MEMBER VAN BRAMER, CONGRESSMAN CROWLEY AND STATE SENATOR GIANARIS ANNOUNCE
PARKING IMPROVEMENTS IN SUNNYSIDE
Changes to parking regulations help local businesses, balance needs of broader community
New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Congressman Joe Crowley and State Senator Michael Gianaris today announced that short-term metered parking is being added and parking regulations are being adjusted along Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside to make parking more accessible for motorists, especially the customers of local businesses lining the corridor. Recently, DOT reprogrammed more than 150 long-term meters from 33rd Street to Greenpoint Avenue to give motorists the option to pay for fewer than 12 hours at those spaces. To build on this effort, 60 muni-meter spaces under the elevated 7 train will be converted to a four-hour maximum time limit next month. The weekday “No Standing 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.” regulation on the north curb of westbound Queens Boulevard from 48th Street to 32nd Place also will be eliminated and the existing two-hour muni-meter regulations will be extended, going into effect at 8 a.m. to provide more parking opportunities for motorists looking to access businesses in this area. DOT studied these changes at the request of City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
“Sunnyside is more than a stop along the 7 train, it’s a destination for shoppers that local retailers depend on,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “By expanding short-term parking, we’re balancing the needs of commuters while providing access that will help boost the local economy.”
“Through collaboration with the DOT, and in response to requests from the community, I am thrilled to announce these two major changes to the parking landscape of Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “These 60 new muni-meter spaces will reduce commuter parking, which gobbled up space for an entire day, preventing the turnover that many small businesses desire. In addition, the lifting of rush-hour parking restrictions is a common sense approach that balances traffic concerns with that of local residents and owners who welcome the additional parking spaces in their neighborhood. These changes are a major victory for the people of Sunnyside, and I am proud to deliver this result.”
“We must do all we can to ensure businesses in Queens can grow and thrive and making these parking adjustments on Queens Boulevard will help do just that," said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “That is why Councilman Van Bramer and I called on DOT to make parking more accessible along Queens Boulevard and I am pleased DOT listened to our concerns, as well as the concerns of business leaders in the community.”
“Those of us living and working in Sunnyside have experienced the frustrations of parking regulations and other city services that do not serve our community but only benefit those passing through the neighborhood,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “Sunnyside is a great and growing community that is seeing more and more young families move to it every day. I am pleased that these parking regulations are being changed to better reflect the needs of our community members and small businesses, which will allow Sunnyside to continue to flourish.”
“After hearing from business owners and community members about the struggle to find parking along Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside during the day time hours, DOT has come up with a reasonable plan to meet the needs of community,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “I thank Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer for his leadership on this project and I look forward to hearing from the community as these changes take place.”
DOT evaluated conditions along westbound Queens Boulevard during the morning peak hours and found that the No Standing regulation could be eliminated without significantly impacting traffic flow, allowing metered parking hours to begin two hours earlier and street cleaning regulations to be added daily from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. These changes, along with the updates to the 60 meters that allow for four-hour parking, will be implemented on Oct. 31, 2011. Overall, the adjustments establish a better balance for short- and long-term parking availability that is aligned with the community’s needs. The agency will continue monitor these adjustments after implementation for possible fine-tuning in the future.
DOT has engaged with communities across New York City to simplify parking and make better use of curbside space based on local needs. For example, muni-meters have been installed throughout the five boroughs, gradually replacing single-space meters with more durable and efficient machines that provide more payment options for motorists. Through the Park Smart program, variable parking rates have been introduced in busy commercial areas to address demand at peak hours and alleviate congestion by reducing cruising for parking spaces.