2004-02-06 / Editorial/Opinion

Access To Parking More Important Than Good Looks

Access To Parking More Important Than Good Looks

Once again, New York City is embarking on a plan that will negatively impact hundreds of people who rent apartments in the west end of the peninsula. When city officials followed the voices of a small group of elitist homeowners and allowed the restrictive beach and boardwalk rules to stand, we could only look on in wonderment. Those rules have effectively ruined two summers for Rockaway residents and now promise to ruin a third. The new issue, however, is even more important. Responding to a request from the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association, the city will soon place "No Parking" signs along Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 126 Street to Beach 139 Street. Those of you who read this space on a regular basis will know that The Wave spoke out against the newly-constructed center malls along that stretch of the boulevard. We believed then and continue to believe now that the malls are unnecessary and dangerous, built as a sop to the egos of the Belle Harbor residents who wanted their community to look more like the prestigious Neponsit area. We warned that the malls would cut down on parking spaces needed by those who rent apartments in the area and have no access to driveway parking. We were assured that was not the case. Now, City Councilman Joe Addabbo says that the signs have been ordered and will be put up as soon as they are ready. That is not good for renters, or for homeowners who seek to rent their vacant apartments. Many of those who rent apartments are elderly. They cannot walk long distances to get to a parking space. Other renters should not have to park long distances from where they live simply to satisfy somebody’s aesthetics. Owners who want to rent apartments are often asked the question, "Is there parking available," before a potential renter even comes to look at the apartment. In a beach community, where parking is already severely limited, parking is more important than cosmetics. Even the elitists that want the needs of only the homeowners to be addressed should understand that fact. Addabbo is urging those who are opposed to the signs to write to him at his local office. We can only hope that the city will see the rationale for allowing the parking to remain in place. Access to parking may well be a seminal issue on the west end of the Rockaway peninsula and the city fathers should heed its call.

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