OANA likes Peralta parking permit bill

Old Astoria civic seeks inclusion in resident parking permit pilot bill

Historically speaking, the search for on-street parking in Astoria can require the toughness, durability and drive of a marathon runner.

So when state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) last month introduced a bill to establish a pilot resident parking permit program on residential streets within two miles of LaGuardia Airport, members of the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association took a keen interest.

In a statement emailed to the Chronicle last Tuesday, OANA said it long has been an advocate of establishing residential parking permits.

“While we agree that it will be a long journey to accomplish this, we view with interest a bill establishing a pilot program to test the feasibility of residential parking permits in the LaGuardia Airport area,” OANA said. “Indeed, if possible we would like this extended to the Old Astoria neighborhood.”

The group reiterated its long-held stance that parking issues have a strong effect on the neighborhood’s quality of life “from the extra pollution, waste of time, and the psychological frustrations we all face from cruising the neighborhood looking for parking.”

Peralta earlier this month told the Chronicle that workers doing the massive reconstruction of LaGuardia routinely park on neighborhood streets, leaving residents to stage time-consuming hunts to park conveniently near their homes.

He said travelers using the airport also can park their cars for a week or more to avoid pricey airport lot parking fees.

OANA representatives said they experience a great deal of the latter. When done on roads without opposite side of the street parking regulations, they say, police and traffic agents are either unwilling or unable to ticket the cars.

Both Peralta and OANA cite cities across the country where residents appear willing to pay for the privilege of parking.

Peralta, while saying anything would have to go through a series of hearings in the City Council and in Albany before approval and implementation, has suggested that $35 for a one-year sticker would not be overly burdensome.

His bill would set aside 80 percent of all spaces on a given bock for residential parking. Commercial corridors would be exempt, though OANA’s press release included a statement from group President Richard Khuzami, first given to the Astoria Post, suggesting that starting times on streets with a lot of businesses could at least be delayed to perhaps 9 p.m. before taking effect. Peralta’s proposal says nothing of starting or ending times.

The senator said the remainder of the spots could be used by temporary parkers. Residents hosting overnight guests would be responsible for notifying their NYPD precinct with the make, model and license plate of a visitor’s car to keep it from being ticketed.

“Most major cities in the United States run residential parking permit programs successfully,” OANA said. “Parking is at such a premium in New York City that creative thinking is a must.”

OANA’s stance is that since Peralta’s idea is for a pilot program, any questions could be resolved along the way or afterward before any permanent action is taken.

“But to do nothing should not be an option,” the group said in its statement. “We do not have to accept the status quo. We hope that this can be the first step in solving what today is one of the major quality of life issues all New Yorkers face.”