Parking was a major topic at the sixth annual meeting of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District this Monday.
Residents and merchants met in C J Sullivan’s American Grill on 41st Avenue to hear updates from BID officials, who represent over 400 businesses and property owners along Bell Boulevard from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue.
The focus was the lack of sufficient parking along Bell Boulevard.
“We have 88 percent car ownership rates in the area surrounding us and more importantly, everyone is a driver,” said BID Executive Director Lyle Sclair, calling the area a “New York City anomaly.”
Sclair said the BID is particularly worried about when the MTA’s Long Island Rail Road East Side Access Project, which will connect the LIRR’s Main and Port Washington lines to Grand Central Station, is finished.
Once completed, the parking demand is expected to increase from 1,000 spots to nearly 1,300, Sclair said, citing an environmental impact study. There will be more than 4,000 commuters out of Bayside.
That will add to what BID merchants say is already a troubling parking situation.
Steven Lastihenos, owner of Apollo Comfort Shoes, said a lack of immediately available parking spots drives away impatient customers.
“I think they give it a try but when they have trouble finding a spot, it’s very easy to just go up to Bay Terrace or head up to Queens Center, or Roosevelt Field,” Lastihenos said.
“There used to be a lot more people that would park further away and walk, but now it just seems like everybody wants convenience. I hear it from my customers all the time, [who say], ‘I passed by but there were no spots.’ They look within that block and if there’s no spots they move on.”
Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) announced he has allocated $20,000 for a feasibility study to assess whether a multilevel parking structure should be placed on what is now a 92-spot municipal lot on 41st Avenue at 214th Place.