Sunset sinkhole creating parking nightmares for residents

The huge sinkhole that opened at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 64th Street in Sunset Park back in August has created new headaches for nearby residents who now are having difficulty finding parking spots. And there seems to be no end in sight.

John Kosciusko is one of the frustrated residents who have struggled to find spots for their cars on a daily basis. He complains that the construction has taken away six blocks worth of parking on Fifth Avenue. “I used to park there with the meters,” he said. “Now, there are no meters on Fifth between 64th and 65th Streets. There’s nothing. Some people have to park all the way in Bay Ridge because of the construction. We are running out of options on where to put your car. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

Kosciusko also feels that construction workers are treating the residents in the neighborhood poorly. “They have been disrespectful,” he told this paper. “It’s bad enough they don’t park on the construction side. They park at meters and in driveways. I can handle a lot of that, but I can’t handle the parking near  fire hydrants. What if a house goes on fire?”

When the Sunset Park resident asked one of the traffic officers on site about it, he replied by saying if a construction car is blocking a hydrant during a fire, the firefighter will just break through the car. “That’s not exactly reassuring,” Kosciusko noted.

Another pressing issue is a change that has affected the muni-meters in the area, according to Kosciusko. “Last week, I realized the maximum you could put in the muni meters near Fourth Avenue between 62nd and 63rd had changed from two hours to one,” he said. However, the sign still says two hours. “You’re going to think you get two hours and end up with a ticket. They should suspend meters for a little while to give us free parking.”

Kosciusko reached out to find a solution, but hit a brick wall. “I called 311 and the representative she had no contact information for me about the timing of meters,” he recalled.

Exacerbating the situation, according to Executive Director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District Renee Giordano, is the fact that it may take longer than the original November estimate to complete repairs. “I now hear it could take up to six months,” she stated.

She has also heard the angst of residents. “It’s been very frustrating for people. They’re getting upset that there’s no alternate side. The Sanitation sweepers can’t get to the streets. No one has covered up the signs,” she said. “Officers are giving tickets for double parking. Everybody is scrambling for spots. People are really angry.”

By press time, neither the Department of Transportation nor the Department of Environmental Protection had  responded to a request for comment.

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