With street parking in the Bronx always scarce, the Westchester Square business community is upset over the recent abuse of parking by government agencies.
Members of the Association of Merchants & Business Professionals of Westchester Square were enraged on Friday, April 17, when 7 of 10 metered parking spots on Westchester Square, between Fink and Ponton avenues, were occupied by vehicles with U.S. Government license plates.
“The spots are for the consumers of Westchester Square,” said John Bonizio, president of the Westchester Square merchants. “I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but simply because they are government vehicles does not mean they can park where they want. They can’t abuse their power.”
The vehicles belong to members of the U.S. Naval and Air Force Recruitment Center, located 63 Westchester Square. According to the New York Police Department, the vehicles are required to abide by parking regulations, including paying for the metered and time parking in designated parking locations.
Bonizio reports seeing the vehicles, for countless hours, occupying valuable space without feeding the meters and parking in front of fire hydrants. Traffic Enforcement routinely overlooks the violations.
Petty Officer Louis Lopez of the Naval Recruitment Center explained that on the specific day in question, the center hosted a general monthly meeting involving recruiters from around the borough, and to have that many vehicles on the Square at one time is not a normal occurrence.
District manager of Community Board 10, Ken Kearns, visited the office to address the issue and encourage finding alternative means of parking.
Upon recommendation by Bonizio and Kearns, Pete Mestousis, of Mestousis Enterprises, offered to rent as many spaces as necessary to the recruiters in a lot located 1346 Blondell Avenue.
Lopez explained that now that they are aware of the problem, they have been working with city agencies to comply with the requests.
“We want to be welcomed members of the community, and we are looking into other options for parking arrangements,” said Lopez.