Lack Of Parking Destroying Columbus Avenue Business

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – When the Department of Transportation installed a bike lane on Columbus Avenue in November, it changed the whole street design and took away parking spaces.

That lack of parking spaces is now wreaking havoc on local businesses.

 LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

Ivan Pharmacy owner Ivan Jordan said his business has declined by 25 percent and the major cause is the parking trouble.

“The decline in business was the most immediate because people got frustrated looking for a parking spot that they just went elsewhere,” Jordan said.

The resign took away about four parking spaces, Jordan said. Now he said the spaces can only fit about three or four cars.

After community complaints, the DOT now said it will look to add parking spaces and to improve signage.

Borough president Scott Stringer thinks the city should have sought more input from the beginning.

“You cannot design a street, design a community simply by having downtown experts tell us what should be in the street grid,” said Stringer, who was able to lobby for some changes. “They are going to restore parking on select block lanes without heavy left hand turn volume. They’re going to cut back loading zone hours and increase customer parking, which was a very big issue.”

Stringer said he’ll try to bring these changes to other neighborhoods in the city.

More from Peter Haskell
  • Woody

    I take back everything I said, well, almost sort of.

    The bike lanes have NOTHING to do with the parking issue.

    Took a walk to check out the block with Ivan’s Pharmacy. (Real reporting, unlike CBS.) No parking spaces were taken from his block. None, on either side of the avenue.

    On the east side of the block to the north of Ivan’s and the block to the south of it, new TURNING LANES were installed. These got the slow-moving cars that have to wait for granny and the mother with the stroller to cross the street, by moving those cars off into a new side lane all their own. That was to improve the flow of traffic on Columbus Avenue. But yes, a few parking spaces were eliminated to create the turning lanes.

    So drivers really have to decide, do they want smoother traffic flow on Columbus Ave and ‘pay for it’ by trading in some parking spaces? Or do they prefer parking spaces that they will ‘pay for’ by sitting behind drivers waiting for pedestrians to clear the crosswalks so that their vehicles can turn.

    If the bike lane and every single bicycle disappeared from Columbus Ave forever, the drivers would lose a favorite enemy. But they still will have to choose: More parking or Smoother flowing traffic.

  • Jacob

    A grand total of five (5) businesses on the 20 block stretch reported a loss of business. Half didn’t even bother to respond to a survey about the bike lane. It seems like the headline is blowing this issue way out of proportion.

  • sam

    People who pay for 30-60 minutes of metered parking are doing it to go shopping. If the parking spots used to be full and then they were reduced by 50% then it impacts the local businesses.

    The local businesses pay rent in accordance with traffic to their stores. The city just cut the traffic to their stores and they are suffering because their rent is not going to change.

    • Chicken Underwear


      This is NYC you walk to drugstore. The own of the pharmacy is just upset that he has (a perceived) problem finding a spot.

      • L

        Chicken Underwear (I cant believe I even wrote that) what are you talking about? Please stop commenting, you’re embarrassing yourself. Do you know the owner? Have you shopped there? And for the record, Ivan Pharmacy is simply a face to the issue, but every business on Columbus Ave. felt the effects of the bike lanes and is thankful for what the city is doing. Think before you write, and spell check…

      • sam

        the maximum time allowed to park at a meter is one or two hours. the parking is for shoppers not workers.

        People who drive to work often park on the way home to shop.

  • James Donohue

    Only ten percent of Manhattanites own a car, most travel on foot. So how could business be down 25%? The business must be down because of something else, like the big chain discount drug stores, or the snow, like other people have mentioned.

  • L

    Oh, and to the people I missed claiming that Mr. Jourdain should attribute his decline in business to the numerous chain drug stores and snow, you are so right! I mean, the man has been in business for approximately 25 years, the large influx of chains about 10 years, and the snow, about 2 months, so when you do the math, the installation of bike lanes a few months ago and the correspondence of declining business must be a coincidence, because clearly the man has survived this long because his common sense is lacking. Oh wait, no, I’m sorry, that’s yours.

    • kid

      I would quite enjoy having ivan on the stand (and I’m not even a lawyer) and would welcome the chance to take a closer look at his 25% claim. Doubt (if his # is even accurate) we have apples to apples after controlling for weather, seasonality, competition, # days, holidays, etc.. I used to work in retail and know how fickle all that is. Also guess that if one were to sit there with a clicker to check out ivan’s traffic before and after the bike lanes, the #s aren’t down 25%. May even be up. Retailers – gotta have them and god bless them but, whoa, they’re not always the quickest cats around. Though a bit off the subject (but maybe not), know that our traffic fatalities (read pedestrians as well as few bikers) are way way down (> 1/3) since the early 2000s, and that’s a fact. Foot traffic is where it’s at guys (and yes, I do all my errands on the bike.). Maybe some of these car drivers should take a trip to Amsterdam or Copenhagen to see how the retailers do it over there.

  • Joshua

    Maybe if Ivan Pharmacy lowers his prices the customers will return

  • tomcat

    Hate to generalize here but something tells me the pro-car folks are stupid and overweight and the bikers are smart and lean. With better pr, we’d have shut down all the private cars (or at least stop them at about 96th street; Wonder what that would have done for the retailers or was that never considered? Of course it was and someone figured that over time, retailers would be better off. Run the #s guys – and get out of the cars. you might live a little longer.

    • Rich T

      So if you’re smart and lean does that mean you have priority access to NYC over those who are not? Nice elitist attitude you’ve got there. Sorry everyone’s not as fit as you are – and thanks so much for the motivational b.s. As if you care how long anyone lives, as long as you get your priority bike lane.

    • Woody

      Irrelevant. The bike lane is NOT the issue. The parking spots were removed to put in turning lanes. This is actually a fight between drivers who want smoother traffic and drivers who want free parking spaces. But if the city went in tomorrow and re-striped the stretch to eliminate the turning lanes and restore parking spots, the bike lane would be completely unaffected. Traffic congestion would increase, but hey, not the bikers problem.

  • L

    The druggist is, if you did your homework, an upper-westsider and has been his entire life, so chances are, he walks! The people who drive, perhaps, are also manhattanites who are too loyal to switch to a large chain pharmacy. And yes, check the plates, 99% of them are New York Plates. Also, when bike lanes are effecting small businesses it effects a community, so shall we say you’re pro big business, if so, good for you, go bike there. FYI cbs: It’s Ivan Jourdain, not Jordan.

  • karma5230

    Who the heck drives a car to a drug store? You walk if you are a New Yorker. You shouldn’t be taking a car to drive to a drug store. Maybe his business is down due to SNOW. You know all that white stuff that has been falling down lately has made it harder to walk to go shopping.

    Oh and yes, there are the Duane Reades every 2 blocks, Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVSs that have opened up all over the place. Perhaps that has something to do with his business going down.

    Get real.

  • Larry Schwarz

    Many Cities give incentives for people to shop.Here in Salt Lake City during the holidays parking is free for 2 hours.New York never does anything like this.They make parking difficult and the meters are a fortune.Of course people will shop elsewhere.These business owners are right.How about one free hour on Saturdays.This is why people go to malls in New Jersey with plenty of parking.Help these mom and pop businesses out NYC,Don’t be so greedy.

  • Joel

    I wonder how many of the complaining merchants on Columbus Ave. are having trouble parking their own cars near their stores. This is why they are really complaining. As for Scott Stringer, he should be using his office to help New Yorkers to have better public transportation, instead of pandering to the lazy people who clog up the streets with their cars.

  • Fred

    The bike lane should be removed.

    • Woody

      The bike lane did not cause the removal of any parking spaces. It’s the new turning lanes taking space that used to go to parking. So pick one: More congestion on the avenue or less parking.

  • Paul

    Maybe it’s the snow that’s hurting his business and not the bike lane?

    • Stan

      Yeah, maybe it’s the 10,000 Duane Reades, CVSs, Rite Aids and Wallgreens that are hurting his business, not parking spaces.

      There is no reason for anyone to drive to a drug store. If you are too sick to walk you shouldn’t be driving and should take a cab or have it delivered.

      • Woody

        Only 10,000? Ivan’s Pharmacy is located on Columbus between 93rd & 95th Sts. On the corner of 94th is a Duane Reade (with another down the hill @ Broadway). On the corner of 97th is a Rite Aid. On the corner of 96th @ Amsterdam is a CVS. On the corner of 96th @ Broadway is a Rite Aid. On the corner of 97th @ Broadway is a Walgreens. (List is incomplete.)

        And the snow. And we’re having a Great Recession here.

        But pity Ivan’s Pharmacy because four (4) parking spaces were removed? That out of 19 or so spaces eliminated between 96th & 77th Sts. Get real.

  • Tom D

    Having moved from LA to NY about 8 months ago and living on the UWS with a car, I can tell you that it is a rare day that I don’t spend 15 to 30 minutes looking for a place within a couple of blocks of our apt at 98th and West End or at our daughter’s place around 86th and Broadway. If the people complaining about parking haven’t accepted this reality that they will likely spend 15 to 30 minutes looking for a place, they better go to the suburbs.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    Whatever “journalist” wrote this story basically hates New York City and hates New Yorkers. It was difficult to park a car on the Upper West Side before the bike lane. And it is still difficult today. The vast majority of local business is done by people traveling by foot and by mass transit.

  • Lando

    I am so glad I can say I didn’t vote for Dunberg and will be glad when leave office. He naorrowed Ninth Avenue, removed direct route on Broadway driving downtown, increased taxi flow on Columbus Ave.
    I use to live on Columbus Ave for 25 years, Now Columbus Ave is for the wealthy.

  • Josh

    The issue isn’t whether you should own a car or a bike. The issue is that some businesses have been adversely affected by the DOT due to the addition of bike lanes. If these businesses depend on a % of customers who own cars and want to park nearby, then the city should have given that more consideration. As much as some of you don’t want to subsidize car-owners, I believe there are far more people who don’t want to subsidize bikers. Bike lanes don’t bring tax dollars into the city. Sales taxes do!

  • Chicken Underwear

    Who drives to a drug store on Columbus Ave? Maybe the druggist.

  • rotor1546

    This is why I bring my money to NJ, Thanks Bluntberg with your brilliant ideas

  • Jp

    Anyone ever hear pf public transportation? Or walking? NYC isn’t NJ. If you want a car, move to the suburbs. That’s why god invented them.

  • pugphan

    I remember when parking meters first appeared, it was like .05 cents an hour, and not soon after it was a dime. The freaking things sprouted like weeds, they were everywhere. Ubiquitous! The thing that has always bugged
    me is that it seems to me that it’s taxation without representation. The peeps were never asked about it. They just freaking put them put. It should have been put up for a vote. It wasn’t- it was foisted upon us. Why can’t we form some kind of drivers union, and let our political power be manifest? Wake up y’all! smokersodysseycom

    Why can’t we form some kind of drivers union.

    • Stan

      I never got to vote on letting cars on the island either. If Manhattanites had a vote, the cars would be left on the other side of the hudson and we’d have safer, cleaner, quieter streets and faster transportation.
      Parking meters are way too cheap. They should raise the prices until people can’t afford to park and leave their cars at home in New Jersey and Staten Island.

      • Rich T

        To Kerry,

        A car can carry 4 – 6 people. Let’s see you ride your bike with 5 passengers hanging off your back. Now who is being selfish?

      • Rich T

        It’s all about you, isn’t it? Everyone else should be inconvenienced for your convenience, is that right?.

      • Kerry

        Rich T, youy are talking to the car drivers, right? Cause driving a car in Manhattan is up there with farting on the elevator for selfish acts.

      • Kerry

        Rich, I don’t know how to respond because your argument makes no sense. Do more people in a car suddenly make it less dangerous than a bike? Pollute less? Make less noise? No, it just means there are four selfish people who think they are too good to take the subway or bus like everyone else.

    • Woody

      Sick of subsidizing your parking place in my neighborhood. Do you Jerseyites pay to keep it paved? Do you Westchesterites pay to have it swept? Drivers are so used to being subsidized by taxpayers they think it is normal, sort of like the divine right of kings.

  • Woody

    Such a lot of hooey. I live on this stretch of Columbus Avenue, and I can look out my window to see three blocks of it. Heck, I have a far better view of the parking/bike line brouhaha than Sarah Palin has of Russia.

    This neighborhood is oversaturated with parking places. Central Park West has no housing at all on the uptown side, but an extra lane of free parking for anyone. The tall apartment buildings put up on Columbus over the past 40 years or so all have parking garages — most of them with vacant spaces unused by residents and so rented out to other users at daily or hourly rates.

    But if there’s some shortage of open spots in Ivan’s block, raise the meter rate to get better turnover. It actually looks to me like a few more parking spots should go to increase delivery space for the nearby groceries.

    Narrowing the avenue a bit is reducing speeding and the changes will reduce injuries and deaths among pedestrians, cyclists, and even drivers.

    As one of the majority of New York households without a car, I’m sick of subsidizing parking for any drivers, and least of all for hotshot news readers at CBS-TV who actually live in Westchester.

    What Columbus Avenue needs is to extend the bike lanes into midtown to bring the benefits to more New Yorkers. Real New Yorkers, not Westchesterites.

    • Stan

      Right on, Woody. The car lovers are out-of-towners who are too entitled or stupid to use the busses or subways like New Yorkers do.

      • Jamal

        You two are narrow minded and ignorant. Next time you’re actually walking around outside, try counting plates, then come back and tell us how many out of state plates there are. Also, that majority of households without a car is only 55%; not exactly the overwhelming majority you make it out to be.

        Some of us ‘Real New Yorkers’ drive because the subways and buses don’t go where we live, or don’t go where we need to get to. And no, there’s often nowhere to park at the nearest station or stop.

        Narrowing the streets slows the flow of traffic, makes drivers more aggressive, and because of the bike lanes (which are already in midtown, which you would know if you looked beyond your expensive little world).

        I’m sick of Manhattan dwellers (usually the transplants) acting all high and mighty because they spend more money on their apartments when they’re not even close to being the majority of the cities population. The people doing the real work come in from the outer boroughs.

  • DanTe

    Now people are realizing that Bloomberg’s grandiose traffic designs are as useless as Hitler’s?

    The similarities between Bloomberg and Hitler:

    Bloomberg and Hitler both unilaterally broke the law on term limits and extended their terms due to an “emergency”.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both like to dictate what healthy activity or food the peons need to do or eat. Hitler was a vegetarian too.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both have grand automobile/people mover plans. The Autoban and the massive lane changes in NYC.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both hates it when civilians are allowed to own guns. Gee, I wonder why they both like a helpless citizenry.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both use “emergencies” to increase their special police’s powers. NYC’s SS even perform overseas “investigations”, like NYC is a wholly separate little dictatoriate.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both just love to control how our youths are “educated”. And children were encouraged to report the teachers if they said the wrong thing.

    Bloomberg and Hitler people both wear monochrome colored shirts in a uniform manner. (While it’s true, this is placed here more so that the fascists can have something to respond to.)

    I wonder what “emergency” will occur for Bloomberg to break the term limit on the Presidency?

  • chris

    big govt fails again to manage even the simplest of social engineering experiments?

    who would have though?

  • walter

    The entire city has been wrecked by bike lanes. Broadway has been demolished everywhere. Below Houston Street and in the 50s it’s one lane for traffic. There is no parking anywhere. This is the work of Janette Sadik Khan and Bloomberg, who think we live in Denmark. Rip it all up!!!!

    • Stan

      No, the city is getting better for the bike lanes. I hope they ban private cars from Manhattan and use the extra street space for sensible transportation options. Cars suck.

  • CT

    They should look into making more parking spaces for this overcrowded city. The article tells one of the basic reasons for losing customers. If I can’t park close by, I’ll go elsewhere.

    • Chicken Underwear

      Ct,Do you realize this story is about Manhattan. Are you really getting in your car to go to a drug store.?

    • Woody

      CT, as in Connecticut? Please, this is New York City and we live here. The last thing we need is more cars crowding in — we want to walk here, take buses and trains, ride bikes,and enjoy a NYC lifestyle. The majority of New York households do NOT own cars, with an even higher percentage living car-free in Manhattan. So yes, please, take your car and go elsewhere.

      • Woody the snob

        Perhaps you are too busy enjoying your UWS lifestyle Woody, but if it were your business that was being negatively affected, you might feel differently. The revenue generated from small businesses is more important than giving your type some great lifestyle. It’s not as if your life before bike lanes was cramping your style. This city, including Manhattan is for everyone.

      • Woody

        Yes, Manhattan is for everyone. But not for everyone and his car.

        If everyone in Manhattan had a car, in addition to the privileged, subsidized, and self-entitled drivers we already have, we’d have to pave over Central Park to provide more free parking for the elite.

        Let’s do it the way a majority of New Yorkers already do: walk, take a bus, subway, or taxi, ride a bike, use a delivery service. We can enjoy good health, a good life, and about $10,000 a year in lower costs from not owning a car in the City.

    • Chicken Underwear

      Who drives to a drug store on Columbus Ave? Maybe the druggist.

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