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Queens Chronicle

Parking garage not needed, activists say

Attorneys say lot will be cost-effective for those flying in and out of LaGuardia

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Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2016 10:30 am

Two East Elmhurst activists last Thursday argued that a planned Ditmars Boulevard parking garage for those flying out of LaGuardia Airport is not needed in the community, while the developers for the project said it would provide a low-cost option for people looking to park their car before taking off.

Attorneys for The Parking Spot, the company that is looking to build the facility that would provide 1,700 parking spots next to the LaGuardia Marriott, argued travelers are yearning for cheaper, long-term places to leave their cars before heading to a flight.

The cost to leave one’s car at a lot in LaGuardia can be as high as $39 per day, according to the airport’s website.

John Lyons, one of the attorneys, said during Borough President Melinda Katz’s land use hearing last week that while the airport lots are not at full capacity, there is a need for more spots.

“There’s a huge deficit of parking spaces,” he said. “LaGuardia and the surrounding communities could easily accommodate another 10- to 12,000 parking spaces.”

He also noted the rates at The Parking Spot’s facility would be more affordable for “the everyday traveler.”

Assemblyman Jeff Aubry (D-Corona), however, doesn’t think that’s a good enough reason to place the 128-foot-tall garage in his district.

“My community doesn’t accept that,” he said.

Aubry argued the Port Authority could easily lower its prices, if it wanted to, making the LaGuardia lots a more affordable option for travelers.

He also said the construction of the garage and the movement of cars in and out of it would put an unneeded strain on the community — later noting the neighborhood has done its fair share in helping out the airport.

“We’ve accommodated development before,” he said.

Lisa Jenkins, a longtime East Elmhurst resident, further argued the garage would add to the commercialization of the area.

“East Elmhurst is a residential community,” she said. “It was never meant to be a commercial area.”

Jenkins said the garage would put a strain on traffic on Ditmars Boulevard, saying the corridor is already congested.

Representatives for The Parking Spot said they conducted studies that showed the garage would have a minimal impact on traffic, but noted those were not done during peak travel months.

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