by Michael Sedon
STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Merchants on a Great Kills block are singing the bus-stop blues after the city eliminated the metered parking spots on Hylan Boulevard in front of their establishments.
The change is associated with the controversial new Select Bus Service on the S79 route, which aims to expedite travel between New Springville and Bay Ridge. Riders seem to like the new service but motorists have complained about the effects on traffic.
The Great Kills merchants had been accustomed to the bus shelter and the 75-foot restricted zone in front of it. But then the city Department of Transportation moved a “No Standing” sign 50 feet farther down the boulevard, and four prime parking spaces vanished.
“There’s no metered parking anymore, and we have four businesses that need parking,” said Senad Lazoja, owner of Transition Salon for the last eight years. “That’s our livelihood. It’s the only spaces.”
The bus stop now occupies the 128 feet from Nelson Avenue, as measured by Lazoja on Wednesday afternoon.
Lazoja predicted that customers will take to parking on adjacent residential streets, to the chagrin of homeowners.
Or perhaps frustrated potential customers will take their business elsewhere.
Oleg Vaynganz, who owns Wine and Liquor on Hylan, figures that the city will lose $13,728 per year in parking revenue. He based his calculation on 100 percent occupancy of the four spaces for the 11 hours of enforcement, six days a week, 52 weeks a year, at 25 cents for 15 minutes.
“That’s like the city stealing money from the city,” he said.
Vaynganz said that all week, customers have been asking him where the parking went.
Maria Pesce of Todt Hill, who gets her hair done at Lazoja’s, asked the same question Wednesday afternoon, although she was lucky enough to find a spot down the block. She’ll stay loyal to the hair dresser, she said, but resents it that the city has made her trips to Great Kills more inconvenient.
Dance Sensations studio and the Bisignano Law Firm, PLLC, are also hurt by the lost parking.
Joseph Borelli, chief of staff for City Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore), who’s running for the state Assembly in his own right, questioned the logic of extending the bus stop.
“The same number of buses are coming down Hylan Boulevard every day,” Borelli said. “Why the expansion, now, to a parking spot for three buses?”
Borelli noted an irony: City planners grant commercial overlays in residential areas — including the Hylan Boulevard corridor — in the interests of promoting economic development, and now the city DOT is taking away their parking.
The borough DOT commissioner is willing to work with the business owners to “mitigate” their plight, Borelli said.
A spokeswoman for the DOT said the stop at Nelson and Hylan was adjusted to meet the standard bus stop length throughout the city, and the DOT recently added additional metered parking south of the stop.