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Residents near airport angry at company using their street spots for airport parking

<i>WCBS</i><br/>Residents in a Queens neighborhood near JFK Airport say they're tired of their streets being used as an unofficial
Residents in a Queens neighborhood near JFK Airport say they're tired of their streets being used as an unofficial

By Lisa Rozner

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    QUEENS, New York (WCBS) — Residents in one Queens neighborhood say they’re tired of their streets being used as an unofficial, extended airport parking lot.

They tell CBS2’s Lisa Rozner they feel the situation is being fueled by a local parking lot business, and they say holiday weekends, like this one, are when it’s the worst.

On 152nd Avenue and near 129th Street, vehicles are double-, even triple-parked. Some are facing the wrong way, and others can be found in crosswalks and in front of hydrants.

The neighborhood is a few minutes from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Sunday, CBS2 saw plates from Washington state, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire.

“When people come from work, they cannot get park who lives in this neighborhood. It’s ridiculous,” South Ozone Park resident Linda Humes said.

“They park at the night time,” South Ozone Park resident Nelson Alvarez said. “I use my cones to save my spot.”

“Many times I have called 311 and I report cars,” South Ozone Park resident Colin Humes said.

CBS2 saw one vehicle marked for tow because it was parked more than the seven-day city limit, but Colin Humes says most 311 complaints go unanswered.

We did see travelers parking their cars and catching a cab on their own, but residents we spoke to blame ARB Parking, claiming too often it’s parking customers’ vehicles on neighborhood streets when the lot gets full.

“It’s a very quiet neighborhood. This parking lot, since they came into play, everything is turned upside down,” one South Ozone Park resident said.

“When we’re on patrol … they’re parking their cars on the street, on public streets and still collecting the fees,” said Joseph Thompson, president of the South Ozone Park Civilian Patrol.

Sunday, NYPD officers ticketed several vehicles.

When we approached one of the lot employees for comment, he put his supervisor Adi, who wouldn’t give his last name, on the phone. He admitted some of the ticketed vehicles belonged to customers.

“These cars is parked a couple, three, four hours,” he said. “Because of Father’s Day and everything, we face this problem.”

“How come you don’t tell the customers that your lot is full?” Rozner asked.

“I told a lot of the customer that lot is full, right, so the customer say, ‘We don’t care, we have a flight,'” Adi said.

He claimed he would bring all the vehicles into the lot, and we saw a few moved later in the night.

Customers we spoke with weren’t aware of their cars being parked outside of the lot, but customer James Venuti says in May, when he picked up his car, it was out of gas.

“They said it had low fuel. I said, ‘When I gave it to you, it had half a tank,'” Venuti said.

Kevin Stewart said three miles were added to his car while he left it with them.

“I was like, something is not right,” he said.

The Better Business Bureau says ARB has an F rating because ARB has not responded to the dozen complaints it’s received.

“Always document the condition of your car. Take video, inside and outside, before you park it in a lot,” said Brian Rauer, with the Better Business Bureau of Greater New York.

A rep for the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection told us:

“In NYC, broadly, parking garage operators must park all cars in a garage or lot, and are not allowed to park cars on sidewalks, streets, or other public spaces.

“DCWP is aware of several consumer complaints against ARB Parking JFK but I’m not able to share more about active investigations at this time.”

We did follow up with ARB Parking several times about the consumers who complained of problems. The company did not get back to us with a comment.

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