March 6, 2018 By Tara Law
Cars and delivery trucks will soon be prohibited from parking along Roosevelt Avenue between Broadway and 90th Street during rush hour, and businesses fear that the restrictions will cut into their bottom lines and make it difficult to receive deliveries.
The pilot program will start on March 19 and last for six months, according to a DOT spokesperson. The restrictions will be in effect weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The NYPD will assign additional staff to the area to enforce the new regulations.
The parking restrictions, which were first announced in October, are part of the Clear Curbs component of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Congestion Action Plan.
Clear Curbs, which is also being enacted in Midtown and on Flatbrush Avenue in Brooklyn, is intended to prevent cars from blocking travel lanes and to speed up pick-up and drop-off of passengers.
The DOT intends to monitor the program, and will assess whether to make the restrictions permanent at the end of the six-month period.
Glen Mirchandani, who owns Devinsons Jewelry at the intersection of Roosevelt Ave and 82nd Street, attended a meeting held by the DOT and a Jackson Heights business group last Friday.
Mirchandani said his customers already find it difficult to find parking along Roosevelt Avenue, and that the new restrictions will make the problem much worse.
“I’m not happy about it,” Mirchandani said. “It’s going to affect all businesses.”
Many of his customers live in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he said, and must drive to get to the store.
“I’ve already lost quite a few customers,” Mirchandani said. “They always say it’s so hard to come to you, it took 30 minutes or an hour to find parking.”
Small businesses can’t spare six months for a pilot program, said Leslie Ramos, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, a business association that includes businesses located at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and 82nd Street.
She said that her organization is “100 percent against” the program.
“There’s very limited parking around here,” Ramos said. “Retailers are struggling as it is.”
Ramos said that she is particularly concerned about the brackets of time the DOT selected for the restrictions. The early hours will cut into peak delivery time, she said, and the later hours will hold up customers who stop in on their way home from work.
“If you want to kill businesses, this is a perfect plan,” Ramos said. “I feel like we are trading traffic speed for business survival.”
A DOT spokesperson said that the department is continuing its outreach to local businesses. The department met with the Jackson Heights and Elmhurst community boards on Jan. 17 to discuss the program.