2004-05-14 / Front Page

Municipal Parking Lot Faces Summer Construction

By Howard Schwach

Municipal Parking Lot Faces Summer Construction


Flowers, stuffed animals, notecards and pictures were placed at the corner of Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue last Sunday in memory of those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 on November 12, 2001.Flowers, stuffed animals, notecards and pictures were placed at the corner of Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue last Sunday in memory of those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 on November 12, 2001.

By Howard Schwach

The construction of a new headquarters facility for Transit District 23, NYPD at the Beach 116 Street subway station has caused some consternation in the community due to the removal of several handicapped parking spaces from the front of the lot and the fact that the summer season, when parking is always scarce on the shopping street, will be quickly upon us.

While the removal of the handicapped parking spaces to another part of the municipal lot has been blamed on the transit police, the unit’s commanding officer told The Wave that his command had nothing to do with it.

"I would never condone anybody in my command parking in handicapped spots," says Captain Mark Watenberg. "The parking change has nothing to do with us. That was all determined by the Transit Authority and the contractors."


The entrance to the Municipal Parking Lot on Beach 116 Street has been partially blocked by storage bins and fencing in preparation for constructionThe entrance to the Municipal Parking Lot on Beach 116 Street has been partially blocked by storage bins and fencing in preparation for construction

"I don’t mind taking a black eye when I deserve it," Watenberg says with a laugh. "This time, however, it’s not our fault."

The project to build the two-story headquarters is scheduled to be completed in July of 2005. Until then, Watenberg says, there will be disruption in the entrance to the parking lot.

Last week, a storage building was placed in the area where the handicapped spots were once located. More heavy equipment and building supplies for the developers will be placed in that area shortly, cutting further the access to the lot from Beach 116 Street.

Jon Gaska, District Manager for Community Board 14, says that the alternative to closing several spots at the opening of the parking lot was to take parking spots from Beach 116 Street itself, something he considers to be undoable.

"The construction people needed spots for their heavy machinery and storage," Gaska says. "It had to come either from those spots or from the street itself, something that we did not want to do."

He says that the developers have committed to having a flag person to keep traffic moving whenever they are working on the site. He hopes that the flag person will be able to keep traffic flowing in and out of the parking lot while construction is going on.

Gaska added that, despite rumors that are flooding the west end community, there are no plans to close the rest of the parking lot for construction this summer.


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