Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza
“Since SBS went into effect on Cross Bay and Woodhaven boulevards, many small businesses along these roadways have found that nearby customer parking spaces have been sacrificed to the bus routes and newly created bus stops,” Sen. Addabbo said.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Since it was implemented a month ago, the Cross Bay-Woodhaven corridor Select Bus Service program undoubtedly has affected all stakeholders: riders, motorists, and the owners of the small business that dot either side of both thoroughfares.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), whose 15th District hosts the entire 14-mile Q52/53 SBS route, had that last group in mind when he recently introduced legislation to require the City to provide alternate parking spaces to make up for those that disappear as a result of SBS or other municipal capital projects.
According to Addabbo, area entrepreneurs have told him that they have lost significant customer parking spaces to the newly-implemented service.
“Many small businesses along these roadways have found that nearby customer parking spaces have been sacrificed to the bus routes and newly created bus stops,” said Addabbo, a fierce opponent of the Q52/53 SBS. “This directly impacts the economic health of our community and the local companies that are the foundation of our local business areas. If customers can’t get to these stores owing to an elimination of parking, they will certainly decide to take their business elsewhere – therefore placing our stores in jeopardy.”
The senator noted that, under his plan, when parking is eliminated under an SBS or other capital project, the City would be required to dedicate an equal number of publicly available commercial or residential parking spots within a block of the spaces that were lost. In addition, the City would be required to hold a public hearing to solicit community input, and consider alternative parking sites, prior to the elimination of any existing parking spaces.
Addabbo also noted that spots in front of many local shops have been eliminated or greatly impacted by new bus stops or the parking restrictions imposed by the red “bus only” lanes.
“Unbelievably, these spaces were taken away for the sole purpose of installing a bus lane for a non-existent Saturday rush hour,” he said. “At some locations, the spaces are unavailable 24 hours a day due to the new SBS bus stops, even when already existing bus stops remain just a short distance away.”
Addabbo added that the City – prior to installing such measures – needs to study how the projects will affect the host communities.
“In addition to the potentially disastrous effect of SBS on local businesses, I am also seeing greater vehicular congestion and am concerned for the safety of pedestrians waiting on medians between traffic lanes,” he said. “We need to continue urging the city to better address all of these vital issues. When it comes to parking availability, the administration must be made to understand the need to give back what it takes away. Our local businesses depend on customer foot traffic to succeed. The ‘No parking, no customers, no local businesses’ formula is bad for our city and its residents.”
Companion legislation to S.6962 will be introduced in the Assembly by Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven).
“This bill will ensure that any future endeavors by New York City which affects parking will require the City to replace these spots at a suitable location in the same community,” Miller said.