Parkchester residents still upset over removal of garage attendants

Figueroa at the most recent town hall meeting.
Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Peter Rivera's office

Parkchester Condominiums residents are refusing to accept less than 24-hour staffing in their garages.

Some tenants have created a group called the Parkchester Garages Safety Committee, to apply pressure to the company that manages and staffs the garages – Nashville, Tenn.-based Central Parking System.

The group’s formation stemmed from a community meeting held on Thursday, November 10 at Parkchester Baptist Church.

Parkchester Condominiums residents pay several hundred dollars per month to park at one of three nearby garages on Unionport Road, East Tremont Avenue and Archer Road. They became concerned with the garages’ safety this summer when the 24-hour parking attendants were replaced by roving security guards.

Parkchester community activist Deborah Mizell has taken a lead role in organizing the Safety Committee and she has been frustrated by the lack of response from Central Parking System.

They have not cooperated in having meetings with us so we can find out what’s going to happen with the attendants,” she said. “My main concern is that if Central Parking does not meet with us somewhere before our next town hall meeting in January, my next move would be a rent strike.”

The garages are owned by Parkchester Preservation Management, which also owns the condominiums. But all staffing decisions are made by Central Parking.

Mizell said her main concern was security inside the garages, despite the fact that the 24-hour attendants were not security guards. As far as she knows, there have been no violent incidents in the garages since the policy change.

Central Parking replaced some of its staff after Parkchester’s initial complaints in October. But the attendants are not there on a consistent enough basis, they claim.

Company spokesman Chris Kato said it is still committed to finding a resolution.

“We have increased the staffing at the Parkchester properties, especially during the evening and early morning hours,” Kato said in an e-mail. “This is in addition to the roving customer service representative who has been present on the properties. We are reviewing other options, but a final determination has not been made at this time.”

Mizell has contacted lawyer Nick Fiore, and is exploring the possibility of legal action against Central Parking.

Fiore said the goal is to get 24-hour attendants back at the garages.

“Not having those attendants is an open invitation for criminals to enter the secluded garages,” he said. “We will request of the appropriate parties that those booths have attendants 24 hours a day as they did previously”

Danny Figueroa, chief of staff for Assemblyman Peter Rivera, has also been working with the Parkchester residents on the garage issue. He said his biggest concern was the way Central Parking System removed the attendants without consulting residents.

“One of the things that absolutely infuriates everyone is that it looks like they made a unilateral decision,” Figueroa said. “That clearly was a faux pas.”

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at wweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

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