Rockaway residents and merchants both argued back in January that the proposed rate hikes from 75 cents per hour to $1 would do nothing but drive up revenue for the city and deter business from the commercial areas of the Rockaway peninsula.
The rate hikes are part of the 2012 fiscal year budget and are expected to increase revenue for DOT to nearly $700 million when combined with parking tickets. In January, Councilman James Vacca, the Council’s transportation committee chairperson, backed by the support of the entire Council, negotiated a last minute reprieve from the 25 cents per hour increase in the outer boroughs and north of 86th Street in Manhattan.
President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways, John Lepore, told The Wave back in January that the meter hikes make it even difficult for merchants to attract business in the area. With less time on the meter, customers will not take their time shopping, as in years past. Instead they will now have to pay more to shop or have less time to shop if they don’t have enough quarters to pay for the meters.
Starting around the same time as the meter increase, DOT plans to expand their muni-meter program to areas along Beach Channel Drive from Beach 116 Street to Wainwright Court (next to the MGP, between the Freeway and Beach Channel Drive) and along Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 109 Street to Beach 116 Street. DOT also has plans to replace the coin meters on Beach 129 Street with muni-meters.
Parking meter rates last increased in the outer boroughs in 2009 when the DOT raised parking fees from 50 cents an hour to $1 an hour.