Parking troubles in Bayside may soon become much milder.
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) recently allocated $20,000 in the 2015 fiscal budget, approved last month, that will allow the Bayside Village Business Improvement District to conduct a feasibility study focused on expanding the city Department of Transportation municipal lot at the corner of 41st Avenue and 214th Place.
The agency will look at the pros and cons of turning the lot into a multi-level structure that will provide much-needed parking relief for the neighborhood’s crowded streets.
“They’ve expressed for years the concerns that everyone has on Bell Boulevard,” Vallone said of the BID. “This will give us a lot of clues about what can be done to help.”
The BID submitted a request to Vallone’s office earlier this year asking for funding to review several aspects of a possible plan to expand the lot, including comparing current available parking with the needs of the area.
The more than 250 businesses along Bell Boulevard, between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue, combined with the Long Island Rail Road station on 41st Avenue have created a demand for long-term parking that many business owners and residents of the area feel cannot be met with the number of spots the neighborhood currently offers.
Vallone said one of the biggest concerns the lack of parking brings is that it deters patrons from stopping into stores and restaurants along the street because they cannot find a place to park their cars.
“If you look at Queens and Bell Boulevard, you have a BID that’s fighting to keep it as the top small business spot in the city,” he said. “It’s the picture of small business and I’ve been saying all along, help Bell Boulevard and you’ll be setting an example for the entire city.”
With the $20,000 Vallone secured for the study, the BID will research what building a parking structure would require and what costs would be involved. The agency stated in its written request that it planned to reach out to the community through civic groups and Community Board 11 to encourage public participation in the process.
Vallone said the DOT will also be a partner throughout the study and will review the results after it is completed to see what changes can be made. The project is set to be officially announced Monday at the BID’s annual meeting, when an independent consultant will speak about how it will be carried out, according to the BID.
The study is set to begin later this year and Vallone said he hopes the results are ready to be presented by the end of December. Whatever the study reveals as options for increasing parking, the councilman said he will work with the BID and the DOT to determine how the lack of space can be addressed in a cost-effective manner.
“That’s really our last shot for expanding the land there,” he said. “This is just the first step where we re-emphasize the priority of small business and I’m very happy to get this going.”