New York City’s Department of Transportation plans to remove hundreds of city-subsidized parking spaces under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. DOT has proposed to use some of the space for a narrow two-way protected bike lane and some minor pedestrian improvements. 

Parking spaces near Meeker Ave. and Union Ave.

The plan would remove 680 free parking spaces between Apollo St. and Metropolitan Ave. and replace them with a bike path, expanded pedestrian space, and 400 parking meters. Hundreds of parking spaces will remain, but they will be metered for the first time.

Metered parking will be $1.50 per hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday. It would amount to $22.50 per day, 6 days per week.

The DOT states the space under the BQE is derelict, but has not made attempts to conduct weekly or biweekly street sweeping (as they do on most main and pedestrian streets) and clean up the area.

An area under the BQW near Sutton St.

Transportation Alternatives, the nonprofit working to “reclaim New York City’s streets from the automobile and to advocate for better walking, biking and public transit for all New Yorkers” pushed this DOT project.

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Juan Restrepo, a Senior Organizer at Transportation Alternatives states, “Free parking is not a right. The car-centric status quo has failed New Yorkers, and we are proud to have worked on this plan with a broad coalition of local community groups and elected officials. This investment for Meeker Ave has been in the works since 2015 and was unanimously approved by the local community board this past May. As we clean up after a climate crisis-fueled flood and face the deadliest year for traffic crashes since 2014, we need to redesign streets to get people out of cars and keep New Yorkers safe. This plan and others like it are important for New York’s climate and Vision Zero future and we are proud that it will be fully installed soon by NYC DOT.”

But not everyone shares the same views. A group called Meeker Ave. Neighbors started a petition on Change.org. They are Greenpoint residents who would like an equal place at the table when zoning and infrastructure decisions about streets in their neighborhood. 

Meeker Ave. Neighbors started the petition because residents rely on the parking spots, including commuting teachers. The group highlights the fact that the believe the plan will create more congestion and increase emissions as residents circle blocks searching for parking. The plan might also increase the use of car services such as Uber and Lyft creating even more congestion and emissions. 

It will limit transportation options for people who rely on personal vehicles for their daily commute in transit-poor areas, including the elderly, the disabled, and blue collar workers. The plan will also displace the homeless population residing at the eastern portion of Meeker Ave. under the BQE, without any plan to help these individuals.

Parking spots between Lorimer St. and Union Ave.

Meeker Ave. Neighbors is looking to stop the current iteration of the project immediately, and encourage the city to stop removal of parking spaces under the BQE and not install any meters.

Meeker Ave. Neighbors is asking the city to conduct street cleaning under the BQE during the designated alternate side parking periods and ticket vehicles that do not move for street sweepers, if revenue is needed, and tow abandoned vehicles. They are in favor of ticketing speeding vehicles, installing speed cameras, and updating crossing signals to make crosswalks safer.

Updates on the petition show that there will be a public forum on September 14th. The update notes that it would be impactful to have a good number of people show up who are in favor of saving parking under the BQE.

At the time of publication, 450 people had signed the petition. The organizers are looking for at least 500 signatures.

Join the Conversation

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  1. Hmm – “a permanent underclass of rideshare customers”
    Did an auto lobbyist write this article?
    Seriously though – feels like there should be room to negotiate how this is implemented. Firstly, a potential carve out for people who are car dependent in the surrounding area (how many are there? And can alternatives reasonably replace a car or no?). Secondly, perhaps the rate could be less for residents (if at all possible).
    That this initiative would increase congestion? That’s not at all certain. In fact connecting bike lines across distances, has been shown to decrease congestion across many cities. Plus, it could help the businesses along Meeker Avenue.

    I’m not in favor of the plan as is though without some accommodation for local residents who are genuinely car dependent.

    1. Yeah it would have been nice if DOT actually performed studies and surveyed those who park under the BQE instead of city hall just blindly taking rideshare lobbyist money as per usual. I park there and talk to other people who park there. We live and work in transit deserts. The city should scrap this and build the Triboro subway line if they actually care about the working class.

  2. Why in the world would we _want_ to continue to sacrifice valuable public space in Greenpoint just to subsidize a few car owners? The vast majority of this neighborhood does not own a car; this space should be dedicated towards purposes that the majority of the neighborhood can benefit from: parks, basketball courts, and yes, the horrors, a tiny sliver of safe space for cyclists!

    1. its under the BQE, what public space do you imagine happening? this is a money grab for Ride share companies and to once again make everything pay to play.

      1. I recommend the El Space Toolkit (google it to see) from the DOT and Design Trust for Public Space. There are many options for beautifying the space under the BQE.

  3. This is an Op-Ed, not a news article. I’m really disappointed in Greenpointers for publishing a opinion piece without labeling it as such in the headline, or offering edits to many of the less-supported or clear claims in this piece. I live in Greenpoint two blocks from the BQE, by the way.

    1. This article ignores many facts.
      1. The goal of this project is to create a safer space for all members of the community. Should people be injured or die due to a minority of car owner’s access to free on street parking? Theses changes will make Meeker safer for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians( some going and coming from their cars)
      2. The DOT and Community board 1 were heavily involved in the planning of this project going back at least to 2017.
      https://www.brooklynpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Meeker-Workshop-Sept-2017-final.pdf
      3. The cost of the parking spaces is not put on the residents who are using their cars for work. If they needed their cars for work they would be at work most of the time the meters are on.

      One week after Ida has swamped the basements of residence of Greenpoint this article is advocating for parking spaces? The BQE and Meeker Ave. divided our neighborhood. This is an opportunity to connect to each other, to use our common space to move people, not park cars.
      I used to park my car under the BQE until my catalytic converter was stolen. I used to park on Meeker ave until my car was broken into. I know what it is like to try and find a spot late at night in this neighborhood. But that is not worth the safety and lives of my fellow Greenpointers.

      1. Did you miss the part where the meters go until 10p!?!? If you get home at 5 that’s still 5 more hours you have to pay for. That plus Saturday is almost $3,000 per year in fees. This is an insult to the working class and a gift to the priveledged.

  4. They do not street clean under the BQE but they still ticket cars. I attempted to fight a ticket and sent photos of the trash, full garbage bags, and still was made to pay the fine. It’s total BS and a health hazard. Installing meters will only punish longtime residents. Residential permit only parking would be a much better solution. I would happily pay a reasonable yearly fee to obtain a permit and fund street cleaning if the city would get their shit together (and put it in a backpack and take it o the shit store) and clean the GD streets. This is how most other cities handle parking, NYC is so backwards this is why people leave to live in the suburbs.

  5. The parking under the BQE needs to be reduced to make room for new bike lanes, but simultaneously implementing metered spaces would be a disaster. We unfortunately can’t just “disappear” all of the new cars people bought during the pandemic overnight, which have already strained parking in the area. They’ll just start parking further into Williamsburg or buy parking spaces and the class divide in the neighborhood will be cemented forever, pushing out the already waning working-class Polish and Latinx populations.

    The city and venture-backed lobbyist groups Lyft, Revel etc should work to gradually reduce the number of parking spots in Greenpoint over time, not just yank them outright if they want to avoid a public backlash.

  6. LOL. So basically a few Meeker Street NIMBYS want permanent free parking, courtesy of the city taxpayer. And teachers, not from the area, don’t want to ride transit, and don’t want to pay anything for parking. Cry me a river!

  7. THIS IS BULLSHIT. THEY JUST WANT PEOPLE TO GET RID OF THE CARS SO THEY HAVE TO DEPEND ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OR BIKES. SOME OF US CAN’T RIDE BIKES. AND CAN’T AFFORD BUSES, TRAINS OR UBERS AND SUCH. AGAIN THANK GOD WE MOVED.

    1. On what planet can someone afford a car but not the subway or buses? A monthly MetroCard is $127. If you know a place where I can get a car with insurance for less than $127 a month please hook me up!

  8. Contrary to the claim that there is no plan regarding the displacement of homeless neighbors sheltered there, North Brooklyn Mutual Aid and NBk Essentials has been working closely with local elected officials as well as DSS and DHS for nearly a year. In fact, there has been significant success in advocating for our homeless friends as the necessary clean-up and construction work occurs. Contrary to the claim that there are no sweeps underneath the BQE, sweeps occur biweekly. Volunteers attend each of these sweeps to facilitate communication between homeless neighbors and DSS. DHS is also present, as the law requires.

  9. This is disgraceful…it’s like Dodge City trying to park as it is…can’t believe responderabove said very few car owners in Greenpoint…,duh! Stop already, you’ve already done so much damage to our area…we want our old area back…bye bye hipsters

  10. This is an outrage and a slap in the face to the working families that live near meeker. You can ride down Driggs and not have to deal with brake dust, bird crap, and a literal highway! Residents should be issued parking permits based on their addresses. We have to breathe that air, at least come to a compromise here. Let’s not let Lyft gouge the freedoms we have on our own streets.

  11. This is a horrible idea. I love the hipsters/yuppies/whatever the new people moved into the neighborhood are called now saying how it’s free parking. Is it really when we pay premiums on registration, insurance and then get tickets if we don’t move on time? The city went to hell and back and then back again and I can’t wait to move out of here and never look back. You people destroyed what Greenpoint used to be and represent all for your coffee shops and yoga shops and thrift shops all in a 1 block radius. I miss the old greenpoint when my uncle got his brand new at the time 1995 Nissan Pathfinder stolen all bc he parked on Mcguinness BLVD. You people would never have survived her nor want to live her but now that it caters to you, you want it. I can’t wait to go to one of your states and see if they allow me to pull what you are doing to ours. Have fun drinking coffee and doing yoga underneath the BQE! RIP GP

  12. This is a poorly thought out plan. Eliminating hundreds of parking spaces is simply not practical, however much it might appeal to inexperienced junior politicians and post-collegiate youngsters who are just passing through the neighborhood. Parking is already almost impossible (in part because the junior politicians and post-collegiate youngsters), and with frequent film shoots the situation borders on the absurd. How about a more thoughtful approach that reflects input from the community, rather than scattershot “solutions” in search of a problem. Real problems? We have plenty, including insane traffic patterns near the BQE onramps, too many cars and trucks on residential streets, bicycles that routinely ignore the basic rules, pollution and more. Lack of parking just adds another.

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