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An open letter to City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens):
I am writing to you out of frustration and anger at the installation of Muni-Meters along Bell Boulevard in Bayside. Apparently Mayor Michael Bloomberg has seen fit to wrest every last dime from our pockets, not having been satisfied with the 2 1/2 times increase in local property taxes during your tenure, nor the increase in additional fees and charges.
We are now faced with the inconvenience of having to find a receipt dispensing machine that is sometimes more than 100 feet away, obtain a receipt and come back to the car in order to place the receipt in the driver-side window to make a quick stop in a local store. I understand that in addition to reducing the parking time from 20 minutes to 15 minutes for the same amount we can no longer use the remaining time of a previous parker. In addition, these machines often do not work properly and last week I lost a quarter in one, forcing me to walk an additional 100 feet to find one that works.
I have lived in this neighborhood for more than 40 years ever since my late wife and I bought our home. On almost a daily basis, I have patronized the small businesses in the area of Bell Boulevard between 47th and 48th avenues. These Muni-Meters have caused considerable inconvenience and danger to the shoppers of that area in that we have to find a working machine and put our money in, all the while keeping an eye out for an army of ticket writers looking to further fleece the citizens of New York.
My daughter lives on 215th Street near 45th Avenue and has to take her son, not quite 2, shopping with her. She goes through the same ordeal I just described and to place the receipt in the driver-side window must stand on the street side of the vehicle, open the door and place the receipt on the dashboard while being on the watch for traffic. She has to make a choice whether to take my grandson into the street and expose him to oncoming vehicles or leave him unprotected on the sidewalk.
As I am friendly with most of proprietors of the local businesses, I have asked them if there has been any impact from the installation of this system. All have indicated a drop in business. If you do not believe me, I urge you to take a stroll in the area I have indicated and see for yourself.
When the mayor ran the last time, he promised to run the city like a business. If he was to run his businesses as he has been running the city, I suspect he would he out of business in a short while. In addition to the area I have indicated, Bell Boulevard between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue used to be one of the busiest shopping areas outside of Main Street in Flushing.
Have you made a visit to this area? You will find it looks like a ghost town. Speak to the local business owners and residents of the Bayside community and you will find such great displeasure with the Muni-Meters that many residents have decided to shop elsewhere, thereby inconveniencing themselves but opting for the lesser of two evils.
Edward L. Fox
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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