Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s fair.
That’s how the businesses near a Department of Education office are feeling about city employees taking the metered parking spots outside their establishments during peak business hours.
According to business owners, the DOE employees are parking their personal vehicles on East Tremont rom the moment the street sweepers brush by at 9 a.m. until the end of the school day at about 3:30 p.m.
“It happens all the time,” Patty Kiernan, owner of Wash World at 3442 E. Tremont, said. “The other day I noticed that every parking space was taken, but there was nobody out on the street. I noticed they all have these permits, so nobody’s paying the meter. That’s not right.”
Kiernan said she often gets calls from customers who cannot come into the store because no parking spaces are available, so she has to run out to the street to fetch their laundry or bring it out to them when it’s ready.
“They call me on the phone and say, ‘Come get my laundry because I can’t park,’” she said. “I have three spots in front of the store and nearly every day all three are taken.”
The DOE employees work out of the administrative Adult and Continuing Education Program offices at 3462 E. Tremont Avenue. The building is leased by the department and DOE officials would not confirm how many employees work at the facility.
The 3-story building has a parking area, which is not part of the leased property.
Employees are given permits for “agency business parking,” which allows them to park in metered spaced without paying, a DOE spokesperson said.
Tommy Melendez, who owns Copy That Graphic Productions on 3515 E. Tremont, said he has noticed the cars parking in the metered space.
“They are here by a quarter to nine, because they have to wait for the sweepers to go by before they can park their cars,” he said. “Every day they’re all waiting for the sweeper in the morning. It’s almost like the Westchester Square problem.”
Business owners agree that the problem has been ongoing for the past few years, although it is only an issue during the school year.
For Melendez the problem could be solved easily enough with a little cooperation from DOE employees.
“If they get here early enough,” he said, “they can park a few blocks away if they have to.”