Staten Island commuters who pay to use a nearby parking lot are getting a temporary break this week as the New York Wheel and Empire Outlet projects move forward. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.
If you've played Monopoly you know almost nothing beats the feeling of landing on free parking. And that's exactly what is happening at the north lot of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
"It means it is a happy new year and a late Christmas and we have free parking," said one ferry rider.
"It is really good. They should leave it free all the time," said another ferry rider.
For the next few days drivers can park for free. The Muni Meters have been pulled out now that the Department of Transportation has turned the lot over to BFC Partners, the developer behind the Empire Outlet Mall as part of a 99 year lease.
Impark, the operator of the private lot next door will run both, with the price to park dropping from $8 to $7 per day, or $125 per month.
But the sudden missing Muni Meters and the lack of signage has caused a lot of confusion.
"It would have been nice if we had gotten a heads up," said one lot user.
"I wish we would have gotten better notification," said another lot user.
Representatives of BFC Partners say the lot will be eliminated in late spring or early summer while construction begins on the mall. Once the New York Wheel and outlet mall are finished BFC partners says there will be more parking spaces than currently exist with some parking underground. But until then commuters will park in an off-site lot, with shuttle service to the terminal.
Reaction to that is mixed.
"They are going to be able to get us here everyday. It will be a little different but we will have a nice mall we will have a new hotel. I think it will be fantastic," said one ferry commuter.
"It is a little frustrating when you have a system in place and you are trying to get to work early," said another commuter.
Drivers who paid the city for a $300 quarterly pass will be partially reimbursed.
While the free parking was a pleasant surprise it is not going to last. Starting Monday morning, Impark says it will have new signage in place--along with employees to collect fees.