2017-04-21 / Front Page

CB14, DOT Spar Over Shore Front Parkway

Locals oppose metered parking on the south side of Shore Front Parkway
By Maria Elena Perez

A fter two nights of heated debate, Community Board 14 says the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plans for Shore Front Parkway are unacceptable.

DOT’s proposal, which allows for metered parking and bicycle lanes on the south side of Shore Front Parkway, drew so much criticism that CB14 has decided to table its vote.

Joanne Smith, a former columnist for The Wave and local activist, says the plan fails to take the nature of the community into consideration.

“There is not one place in Rockaway where anyone has to pay a meter to park in front of their home. So those who live on Shore Front need to start being heard because once they do this it will remain,” said Smith. “I guess it’s true, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot. The beach will look like (bleep) with the 200 additional cars. It will be a disaster and everyone knows it. But the city has found a way to once again make money off Rockaway Beach residents and screw us at the same time.”


At an emergency meeting of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association on April 18, DOT spokesperson Al Silvestri (standing), tries to explain the agency’s plan for Shore Front Parkway. At an emergency meeting of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association on April 18, DOT spokesperson Al Silvestri (standing), tries to explain the agency’s plan for Shore Front Parkway. The decision to table the vote was made during the monthly CB14 meeting at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Wednesday, April 19, just one night after an emergency meeting of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association (RBCA) was called so concerned residents could voice their opinions on how little they knew of this plan. “There has not been an overall consensus on what the people want,” said John Cori, president of the RBCA and CB14 member.

The proposed DOT plans for SFP will bring metered parking from Beach 73rd Street to Beach 108th Street and will include bicycle lanes going in both directions.


After listening to the DOT’s plan for SFP on April 19 at the monthly meeting of CB14, the board decided to table the vote on the plan for the time being. After listening to the DOT’s plan for SFP on April 19 at the monthly meeting of CB14, the board decided to table the vote on the plan for the time being. Al Silvestri, Queens Deputy Borough Commissioner of the NYC DOT, has said that they had dialogue at a meeting that was held in November 2016, at which people came and voiced their opinions on the plan.

“We need to have a plan to make it safe for pedestrians and all drivers in general,” said Silvestri. The meeting Silvestri is referring to was not a CB14 meeting, rather it was a gathering of locals and agency reps at Peninsula Library on Nov. 14, 2016, and was organized by Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office.

As The Wave reported in that week’s edition, the issue of whether to add parking proved to be the most contentious.

“The room was split between those who felt that the future of the peninsula lies in the promotion of summer tourism, while others believed that Rockaway should remain as it as it has been for the last 50 years; a suburban beachside community with a traditional suburban economy,” wrote Wave reporter Aryeh Gelfand. “The issue of parking brought up this debate as some residents wished to add parking in an effort to attract visitors, while others felt that parking should be eliminated or opened up in other sections of the peninsula, such as Belle Harbor; a Rockaway neighborhood that has long banned parking on its streets during the summer months.”

The sentiment remains, and Cori feels the people who are most affected should have a say in what happens to their community.

“The people who live [on Shore Front Parkway] should be a part of the conversation,” added Cori. “We need to have a real conversation.” At the RBCA emergency meeting held on April 18, 31 people opposed the addition of metered parking on the south side of Shore Front Parkway. Many residents and members of the board also slammed DOT for their lack of outreach on the plans to the rest of the community.

“We need boots on the ground outreach to engage other people who can’t come to these meetings into the dialogue,” said Rockaway Civic Association President Noreen Ellis.

Ulrich made his voice heard at the CB 14 meeting on Wednesday night as well, saying that the vote should be held to allow more community input on the plans. He hopes that a compromise can be made in the coming weeks once everyone’s voice is heard. “Maybe we can come to a compromise or other solution that doesn’t come at the expense or quality of life to those who live on Shore Front Parkway,” said Ulrich.

Transit activist Rick Horan put it more bluntly.

“It’s not just about parking, but yes, the notion of installing parking meters is just plain stupid,” said Horan. “Just another local tax. Parkways aren’t just for parking, they are, or are supposed to be, thoroughfares. This may be our only opportunity to demand that the city restore the two lanes they removed without community approval. Otherwise I propose changing the name of this once proud road to Shore Front Path.”

In the upcoming weeks, a public hearing will be held before CB14 votes on the plan.

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Topic Shore Front

Topic Shore Front Parkway--The date of the CB#14 Transportation Committee meeting will be Wed May 3rd at the Knights of Columbus Hall starting time 7 pm open to the Public.


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