2011-08-19 / Community

Gateway Planning Parking Lot Hikes

By Nicholas Briano

Gateway National Recreation Area is looking to double parking fees starting next summer. Gateway National Recreation Area is looking to double parking fees starting next summer. Many people in Rockaway can walk to the beach, but for many who visit the beaches of Riis Park by car, it may get a little more expensive.

Gateway National Recreation Area is looking to increase parking rates for their parking lot, according to officials.

Gateway is proposing a 100 percent increase on parking from $5 per day to $10 starting at the beginning of the 2012 beach season. It would be the first increase in parking lot rates since 2004.

Under the proposal, season passes will also increase from $40 to $65 per vehicle and oversized vehicles more than 20-feet in length will pay $50, up from $25.

The public comment period will end on Friday, September 16. Sandy Hook parking rates are also expected to double under the plan. Gateway officials defended the plan in a statement released this week.

“Proposing a fee increase is not a step the park takes lightly, especially during these economically trying times,” Superintendent Linda Canzanelli said. “Many families cannot afford to take vacations in distant lo- cations, so they depend more than ever on nearby parks as places they can get away.” Canzanelli says that the parking fees are used, in part, to hire lifeguards, maintain beach restrooms and showers and to keep both visitors and resources safe.

Visiting non-beach areas such as Floyd Bennett Field and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge will remain free in Queens.

Vehicles with senior or access passes will still receive the 50 percent discount on the new rates. Gateway will allow visitors to participate in the process by accepting comments via email at GATEBeachparking@nps. gov. According to Gateway officials, staff will also reach out to beach visitors through Labor Day to collect general thoughts about the proposed fee increase.

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