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Queens Chronicle

Muni-Meters now spreading in boro

Two dozen neighborhoods slated for machines before year’s end

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Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 11:46 am, Thu Dec 6, 2012.

New York City’s Department of Transportation is blanketing Queens with new Muni-Meters in the final weeks of 2012.

The parking meters will be spaced in regular intervals along designated streets, replacing the single-space meters that have been used by the city for decades.

The new meters take quarters, $1 coins and credit or debit cards, allowing drivers to buy units of time, usually in 15-minute intervals, and distribute tickets that drivers place on their dashboards.

Installation began in the last few weeks along major thoroughfares in sections of South Ozone Park, Whitestone, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Kew Gardens, Glen Oaks, College Point and Far Rockaway.

The DOT has scheduled installation next week in sections of St. Albans, Rosedale, Hollis, Queens Village, Auburndale, Ozone Park and Howard Beach.

Interviews conducted by the Chronicle last fall, when the meters still were a relative novelty in the borough, found them immensely unpopular.

But sentiment appears to be mellowing, at least among some community leaders.

Some merchants and drivers said it was an inconvenience to park only to have to search up and down the block for the meter, pay for the ticket and return to one’s vehicle to place it on the dashboard.

Ticket agents also were accused of ticketing cars as illegally parked while their owners left their vehicles to purchase a ticket or were returning with one to place on display.

Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) led the charge against the practice in City Hall, authoring a bill that gave drivers a five-minute grace period, which can be verified by times printed on both meter slips and parking tickets.

The council overrode Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, and Gennaro’s bill went into effect in September.

The councilman could not be reached for comment. Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said he has heard few if any complaints since Gennaro’s initiative passed.

“People also were complaining that when you paid for a ticket you couldn’t take it with you if you went to another store,” Friedman said. “But the DOT has changed that.”

Drivers can now use their ticket until it expires in any metered space.

“I think people’s concerns have been addressed,” Friedman said.

Portions of Jamaica Avenue, Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Street are among the stretches of road in Jamaica that are tentatively scheduled for installation on or around Dec. 17.

Greg Mays, founder of A Better Jamaica, said he has not yet heard any real objection from businesses or drivers. And he personally favors one of the machines’ modern conveniences.

“What I do like about the new meters is that they take credit and debit cards,” Mays said. “After all, unless you’re going to the laundromat a lot, who goes around carrying that many quarters?”

Communities set for more installations and activations throughout December include Sunnyside, Ozone Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Woodside, Corona and Queens Village.

Installation in Woodhaven along portions of Jamaica Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard and sections of Forest Parkway among others, is scheduled to begin on Monday, Dec. 24 — Christmas Eve.

The Chronicle could not reach Maria Thomson of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, Transportation Chairwoman Tanya Cruz of Community Board 13 or officials from the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce for comment.

A list of targeted installation sites broken down by date, neighborhood and individual blocks is available on the DOT’s website at nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/meterchanges.shtml.

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