City to test peak rate parking meters

July 10, 2008 4:40:26 PM PDT
There you are, cruising down Kings Highway, looking endlessly for that elusive parking spot. "No parking at all. No customers," business owner Hector Randat said.

But a new plan could change the landscape. It's an experiment that amounts to congestion pricing for parking spaces. Parking meter rates would double during heavy traffic periods on Kings Highway between Ocean Avenue and Coney Island as part of an experimental city program beginning this fall.

The goal is opening parking spaces more frequently to cut down on cruising. Decreasing cruising could also cut pollution and traffic congestion. It is also expected to decrease the number of drivers who double-park or park in bus stops.

"It's really bad. I double park, and then find a parking spot," Moe Ali said.

It's the only way Ali delivers supplies for Pumps, his juice bar, but he's skeptical.

"It's not going to happen. People are not going to come back every 20 minutes to feed the meter," Ali said.

The city is also going to test the plan in a section of Greenwich Village in Manhattan where Andrew Fruchtman owns Avignone Chemist.

"In a perfect world, if it would keep the traffic moving and get more people into the area, it would be good for everybody," said Andrew Fruchtman.

The Department of Transportation is still trying to figure out how much more to charge, but, according to published reports, the expectation is 25 cents would buy 6 to 7 1/2 minutes, which would be the equivalent of $2 to $2.50 an hour.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tim Fleischer