Thirty-nine parking spaces clustered at the end of Vernon Boulevard, where it meets Borden Avenue in Long Island City, have been converted into short-term spots, a change spearheaded by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).
Meters at the area, a block from the 7 Train’s Vernon Boulevard station, previously allowed drivers up to 12 hours of parking time. But as of last Friday, cars will only be allowed to park in the spots for two hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., excluding Sundays, which area residents and business owners said will help the local economy through greater turnover.
“Long Island City is not just a commuter stop on the way to Manhattan,” said Sheila Lewandowski, the executive director of the Chocolate Factory, an area theater. Lewandowski was one of many residents and business owners who attended Van Bramer’s announcement of the new spots on Friday.
Standing on a traffic triangle near the spots, Van Bramer explained that people from Long Island and other areas had taken to parking in the spaces before going to work in Manhattan on the 7 Train, tying them up all day in an area lined with shops, cafes and other businesses.
“Anyone who has spent more than five minutes in Long Island City knows that parking has been a big issue,” Van Bramer said.
Maura McCarthy, the Department of Transportation’s Queens borough commissioner, said the process of changing the parking spots took some time because a study was first conducted.
Sunnyside was also included in the analysis. More than 100 parking spots on Queens Boulevard in that neighborhood were converted from one-hour to two-hour spaces last year as a result of the study’s findings and Van Bramer’s efforts.
Mike Del Ray, the owner of Bricktown Bagels, located on Vernon Boulevard just across the street from the 39 newly converted spots, was happy with the change.
“I’ve been so looking forward to this,” Del Ray said. “Long Island City needed this.”
Van Bramer said that while people from Long Island or other areas should not “use our neighborhood as a parking lot,” they are “welcome to buy one of these apartments,” gesturing to a nearby condo.