2009-11-13 / Letters

Parking On Beach 116 Street

Dear Editor,

This letter is directed to the geniuses who devised the parking system on Beach 116th Street. You must be the most cynical bunch of bureaucrats who ever wielded a receipt yielding machine. That you do not live here is a given. That you don't shop here is a certainty. I call the following the Viv - aldi of parking frustrations:

In summer, parking on 116th is difficult due to the beach traffic. Many locals try to avoid the street because of the summer crowds. Frustrating? Somewhat, but, not overwhelmingly so, that is until the DOT changed the fee to 25 cents for 20 minutes from 25 cents for thirty minutes. Apparently, nobody from the DOT has tried to ac - complish any shopping task in 20 minutes considering the first few minutes of the twenty are taken up by the process of unlocking the driver's door, placing the Muni-receipt securely on the dash and relocking the car door. That there are so few shopping opportunities on 116th hardly justifies the relatively new twenty-five cents for twenty minute fees.

In autumn, parking for me on 116th takes on an entirely different challenge. I park, leave my car to secure a parking receipt from a machine that could be many steps away. Should I close my car door? Should I lock it? I am only walking to the machine and back. I wind up bracing my body against the autumn winds, receipt in hand. Back at my car, I open the car door, place the receipt on the dashboard and watch the small slip of white paper blow off the dash onto the floor mat, valuable time being wasted against the DOT clock. Finally, the little receipt in place, I close and lock the car door.

My time shopping, which I gauged at fourteen minutes and thirty seconds still gives me a leeway of three minutes (after all the wind-re ceipt shenanigans) against the twenty I contracted for with my quarter. I'm curt with shopkeepers be cause I am on a tighter schedule since the D.O.T. took my ten minutes away. Shopping on 116th, never a barrel of monkeys has become a race against the clock.

In winter, parking on 116th is much the same as in autumn with the addition of snow and ice. Contending with the elements, any shopper, who just may need a single item from the drug store or the hardware store, exits his car, slips and slides his way on the icecaked medians to the parking receipt dispensing machine and slips his way back to his car. Opening the car door using it to brace himself against the wind and the ice, the shopper contorts his body half in half out of his vehicle to place the receipt in full view on the dash.

The shopper, totally unaware that the gust of wind created during the car door closing has flipped the receipt over, proceeds to his appointed rounds secure in the knowledge that he is safe from the summons server. Au contraire! The summons server, observing from a vehicle a few car lengths away, fully aware that the shopper has paid his due for the privilege of parking, approaches the vehicle in the absence of the driver, sees the receipt in the upside down position and issues a summons to that effect.

Ticked off, the shopper must now fight the ticket using the receipt (right side up) as proof of innocence. The shopper wins his protest; but, cannot be blamed for being frustrated with the entire parking system on 116th.

Ah spring! Surely spring would be a perfect time of year for parking on 116th if the wind were not still a factor. Add to the wind, spring rains, shop pers still must wage war with a paper enemy. Wise to the flipping re - ceipt ploy, a shopper has secured a cellophane sleeve in which to place the re ceipt rendering it unable to flip. How ever, the trip from the car to the DOT receipt machine, locking, unlocking, relocking the car door in the rain

Letters and wind is brutal. Parking on 116th has always been problematic: From angled parking on the east and west sides of the street leaving the middle open to cobblestone lined angled parking cutouts in the middle to parallel parking complete with unintelligible signs and inconvenient Muni-meters, Rockaway shoppers have been taken for a ride by the Department of Transportation. Set - ting aside the inconvenience, the mere thought that any predator who wishes to mug a shopper is aware of their routine. That is, anyone who parks on 116th must leave a vehicle, get a re - ceipt from a machine and return to that vehicle, and bend toward the dash white slip in hand, leaving the shopper in a vulnerable position for attack. Vivaldi certainly honored the four seasons with his musical mentality. The parking four seasons is totally lacking in mentality. And, who is left to suffer the insensitivity of the DOT? We, the taxpayers, the drivers and residents of Rockaway continue to suffer because nobody cares.

Bury the current system. It is inconvenient and dangerous and stupid. Either return to individual parking met ers or give up and let us park for free. That a D.O.T. big wig could read this Four Seasons of parking and actually correct the ridiculous system currently in practice would be music to my ears.


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