Bayside parking lot to close for month-long renovation

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The good news: Bayside’s 41st Avenue municipal lot is set for renovation sometime in the next six weeks, work that should correct a long-term flooding problem in the approximately 90-spot lot, a city Department of Transportation spokeswoman said this week.

The bad news: the work will shut down the lot for three to four weeks, making the search for a parking spot on Bayside’s crowded streets even more difficult.

As if that wasn’t enough, the DOT is pitching in to help close the city’s $5 billion deficit, raising rates in municipal lots throughout the five boroughs, the agency’s spokeswoman said. Rate increases in the Bayside lot went into effect Tuesday, with prices going up to 25 cents every 20 minutes instead of every 30 minutes. The lot includes about 90 parking spaces.

Spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon said Tuesday there were no plans to raise the cost of on-street meter parking in the city and no plans to eliminate free Sunday parking at meters in Queens. Last week the DOT announced it was eliminating free Sunday parking at meters in some parts of Manhattan to raise money.

In most parts of Bayside it costs a quarter to park at a meter for 30 minutes.

The construction in the Bayside municipal lot “is going to be done in the next six weeks,” de Bourbon said.

“It wouldn’t be closed for any longer than three to four weeks,” she said. The spokeswoman said Community Board 11 in Little Neck would be notified before the closure occurs.

The flooding in the lot generally effects about six spaces in the center of the lot, where a small lake seems to form at least once a week. De Bourbon said the renovation would connect the lot to the city sewer system, eliminating the flooding condition.

With a busy Long Island Rail Road stop at 41st Avenue and 213th Street and popular bars, restaurants and businesses along Bell Boulevard, parking frustrations in the neighborhood can skyrocket.

Commuters, shoppers and workers employed in Bayside businesses often compete with residents for on-street parking in the blocks surrounding Bell Boulevard, resulting in “the Bayside shuffle,” in which drivers endlessly circle the same neighborhood blocks until a parking spot opens. Cars pack themselves onto the sides of the narrow residential streets in the neighborhood, forcing drivers to jockey for the ever-elusive parking spot.

Throw in construction, cars that speed through the sidestreets and drivers who double park their cars or commercial vehicles, and driving around Bayside can often feel more like combat than anything else.

Civic leader Frank Skala, president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association, said “parking is terrible now.”

“If they really wanted to renovate that lot it could be done in a week,” said Skala, who said the cars usually parked in the municipal lot will just swell traffic on the area’s sidestreets. “You do half the lot at a time, it’s got two entrances.”

Judy Limpert, president of the Bayside Business Association, said her group is working on a long-term solution to the parking problem in Bayside.

“Long-term we are going to solve this parking problem, I know it,” she said when told of the temporary lot closure. “But short-term, this is very bad news.”

“It’s going to be horrendous,” she said.

Limpert said those who come to Bayside to work, shop or use the Long Island Rail Road will just have to park a little farther away.

People are going to have to walk, she said.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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