State Sen. Jose Peralta is asking the Department of Transportation to better maintain the Muni-Meters on Roosevelt Avenue.
“Parking can be extraordinarily hard to come by as it is already in this bustling area,” Peralta wrote to the DOT in a letter on Feb. 4. “Let’s not disrupt the flow of commerce and traffic for failing to maintain parking meters in good working order.”
The senator’s staff did some “actual leg work,” spokesman Frank Sobrino said, by walking up the street and checking several meters, some of which were out of order.
“It’s inconvenient for the store owners,” Sobrino said. “It’s just frustrating.”
Augustine Rojas, owner of Chemist Pharmacy on Elmhurst Avenue, a block away from Roosevelt Avenue, said the Muni-Meters outside of his business often don’t work or will only take credit cards.
“Not many people in the area have credit cards,” Rojas said. “Many people complain to me.”
The DOT checks the meters routinely, according to spokesman Nick Mosquera.
“We recently received a request specific to Roosevelt Avenue meters and made immediate repairs,” Mosquera said.
Peralta in his letter to the DOT said only allowing credit cards at machines is a problem, particularly in Jackson Heights where many residents don’t have bank accounts. In Queens, 50,000 households do not have savings or checking accounts, according to Peralta.
Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), whose district covers Roosevelt Avenue as well, has not received any complaints about broken Muni-Meters.
Last fall, people polled by the Queens Chronicle did not like the recent installation of Muni-Meters. Individuals complained that ticket agents were issuing citations while drivers were paying at the meter down the block, adding that the walk to the meter was unfair to seniors.
Drivers also didn’t like that they could not use their allotted time until it ran out.
Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) took the matter to the City Council passing a bill in September that gave individuals a five-minute leeway to get to their car with their printed ticket.
Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the bill, which the Council later overruled.
The legislation also allowed drivers to use their bought time until it expired. Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said he hasn’t heard many if any complaints since Gennaro’s bill went into affect.
Another concern for some is how motorcycle enthusiasts can park their vehicles, because unlike cars the Muni-Meter ticket could easily be stolen or blown away.
Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.(D-Astoria) and Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) have both introduced legislation that would allow bikes to park free at Muni-Meters, though they will still have to pay at conventional meters. Neither bill has been approved; nevertheless, the two politicians are promoting their plan across all five boroughs.
In January, the DOT installed more Muni-Meters in Sunnyside, Ozone Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Woodside, Corona and Queens Village.