Fees at College Pt. DMV lot may be illegal: CB 7

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For years Queens residents have complained about congestion at the parking lot at the College Point Department of Motor Vehicles.

But now an attempted solution to that congestion has raised the eyebrows of Community Board 7 members. Leaders of the community board have asked the city to stop the managing company of the lot from charging parking fees, a practice adopted last month.

Triangle Equities currently operates the lot for the DMV, at 30-56 Whitestone Expressway in the College Point Corporate Park, and charges fees which start at $3 for three hours.

The charge may be in violation of the urban renewal plan that governs the College Point Corporate Park, said Marilyn Bitterman, district manager of Community Board 7.

“In our opinion, we don’t think it’s legal,” Bitterman said. “People are very upset and rightfully so. Why should you have to go to the DMV and pay to park there?”

The urban renewal plan requires all institutions within the corporate park to provide parking on site. Parking on the street within the corporate park is illegal.

Eugene Kelty, chairman of Community Board 7, wrote a letter to the city Economic Development Corp. asking the city to intervene. But Lester Petracca, president of Triangle Equities, said Bitterman and Kelty were wrong.

“There is no violation with the parking,” he said.

Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the EDC, said her agency was looking into the details of the urban renewal plan to determine whether or not the lot was in violation.

“We have also informed the developer that whether it’s legal or not, it’s not in the spirit of the urban renewal plan,” she said.

While the city has challenged the fees, Petracca said the institution of parking charges had reduced congestion in the lot.

The DMV is a short walk from an express stop for buses headed into Manhattan and just off an exit from the Whitestone Expressway.

Before the parking charges, commuters would get off the expressway, leave their cars in the lot for free and catch the express bus into the city, Petracca said.

But with the fee, the commuters have stopped using the lot, opening up more spaces for DMV customers.

“The truth of the matter is the parking and traffic flow have absolutely improved,” Petracca said. “Unequivoca­lly, the carpooling has stopped. ... The community should be pleased, not upset.”

Although the fee may have opened up more spaces in the lot, many DMV customers were still frustrated with the charge.

“I’m not happy about it,” said one man. “Who would be?”

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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