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The modernization of a two-lot, 550-space parking facility is nearing completion in Jamaica Center, said Carlisle Towery, president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
The $650,000 upgrading of the lots is scheduled for completion by mid-July, Towery said.
The largest expenditure, $370,000 is for a state-of-the-art, computerized ticket system that will permit us to have reasonable and varied rates to make it more attractive to shop and work in the area, Towery said.
The lots are located behind stores along the north side of Jamaica Avenue, 169th Street, 91st Avenue and behind stores along the east side of Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica Center. One is across from the 103 Precinct building.
It is very hard to find street parking in Jamaica center and most of it is one- or two-hour metered parking. Other private lots and garages tend to more expensive than the ones currently under renovation.
With new businesses moving to the area and the anticipation of a new, 15-screen movie theater opening this spring at One Jamaica Center, parking is essential to the commercial development of the area.
Jamaica First Parking, a non-profit organization formed by the corporation, will operate the lots and a garage on 165th Street and Archer Avenue. All were previously owned by the city.
Renovations and price changes for the lots are designed to serve shoppers and others who will be in the commercial area for a short period as well as longer-term users who work in the area.
All-day parkers, however, are encouraged to use the 520-car garage at Archer Avenue and 165th Street, which has lower all-day rates and more available spaces.
The present plan for the new lot rates are 50 cents for the first half-hour, $1 for each hour up to three hours, $5 for four hours and $7 for up to 10 hours. Twenty-four hour parking will be $10.
The computerized system will permit us to work with local merchants and groups in developing park-and-shop discount programs, Towery said.
One lot will be open until 10 p.m. and will charge $1 from 6 p.m. until closing. The corporation hopes this rate will encourage evening shopping and help people coming to the Queens Borough Public Library, nearby churches and other such facilities in the evening.
We also can make arrangements with organizations such as the Queens Borough Public Library and area churches that will assure that the lots and eventually the garage are integral parts of Jamaica Centers shopping, business and community life, Towery said.
The other lot will operate 24 hours a day and will charge $1 from 6 p.m. until midnight and $3 from midnight to 8 a.m. for a total of $4 for overnight parking. All prices are subject to change.
Although the lots are currently functional, some portions are temporarily closed during the installation of new power lines and cashier booths.
The extensive patch work and other new paving naturally requires the closing of a portion of each lot while the upgrading takes place, Towery said. While this could cause some temporary inconvenience, we feel most people realize that repaving of improved lots necessitates such closings.
Work is also being done to improve the appearance of the lots, including 20 new trees, new and better lighting, new and clear signage, clearly marked spaces and repaired paving.
Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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