The removal of some parking spots along a 10-block span of Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, to replace them with truck loading zones, has left locals feeling blindsided.
The change is the result of a five-month study undertaken by the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), according to the Executive Director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) Renee Giordano, who contended there’s a sizable lack of communication between the DOT and the community.
“Our biggest issue is the fact that things get done without even speaking to the BID,” she told The Home Reporter, explaining that she had caught wind of the change when she happened to read a letter sent to someone else revealing that four loading zones would be placed in various spots on Fifth Avenue later in the year.
Giordano also said that she had no idea that the study had been commissioned. “Supposedly they identified four locations,” she said. “Even to this day, they never sent me information about it. They’re going to make major changes that are supposed to help our businesses and they don’t talk to any of us.”
New signage was spotted as early as a month ago for the truck loading zone across the street from the BID office at 51st Street. “They’re making the lettering different so when they change the lettering and I look, I see they changed the time. So, now it’s six days a week, Monday to Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. that you can’t park,” she said, noting that BID staffers had been ticketed because they were unaware of the changed regulation.
Lost in the changes are the shoppers, according to Giordano, who says she is concerned that taking away Saturday parking will hurt businesses along the avenue. “We might get deliveries, but you need to also take the customers in consideration,” she stressed. “I’ll get calls [from residents] saying ‘I just got a ticket.’
“I obviously understand businesses need their truck deliveries and it would be a good idea so there’s no double parking,” she said. “What I would hope is that we do have some loading zones and there a short frame of time. Companies would find that they should maybe rearrange their schedules so it would be easier for their deliveries on their own.”
Since learning of the truck loading zones, about a week ago, Giordano has called and written letters looking for answers. Nonetheless, Giordano’s knowledge of DOT’s future plans remains limited. “It’s very frustrating thing when you spend so much time and you know the property owners and business owners are spending so much money to make this work, and then you don’t get consulted on things like that,” she said.
Contacted for comment, DOT Deputy Press Secretary Bonny Tsang denied that truck loading zones had been added along Fifth Avenue. “No curbside regulations/loading zones have been changed,” she told this paper, noting “We are in the processing of reviewing for a study on congestion relief on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park.”