2005-05-13 / Letters

Time For Automotive Musical Chairs Once Again

It is fair to say that many west end residents view the coming of May 15 with a certain dread. It is once again time to play automotive musical chairs on the weekends due to the draconian parking regulations in the area that keep even residents from parking in the streets in front of where they live. The hardest hit are those who share driveways and those who rent apartments and have no access to off-street parking. The only residents not impacted are those who have their own multi-car driveways. Those residents, and there are many, can sit comfortably and watch all of their neighbors scrambling to find a parking spot blocks away from home. This year, the situation is once again exacerbated by the imposition of No Parking Any Time rules on Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 126 to Beach 139 Streets. Locals traditionally counted on those rare RBB slots for backup parking. We know that there are two sides to every story and that the draconian parking rules were instituted dozens of years ago at the insistence of local residents who were tired of finding the cars of people down for the day in front of their driveways, of finding beer bottles and other garbage on their lawns, of finding strangers using their backyard showers. Those who favor the parking ban in an attempt to keep “them” from using local beaches also point to the narrow streets and argue that emergency vehicles can’t get through if there is parking. Why the problem only exists from May to September is a question they can’t seem to answer. Times have changed and many residents in Belle Harbor and Rockaway Park rent legal apartments in their homes to keep up with the mortgage. We believe that those renters have the right to park nearby their homes, and that the city has no logical reason for the summer parking rules except to restrict use of the beach. We have been told that there is a hand-held EZ-Pass reader that could easily distinguish Rockaway resident from those who come from other communities to use the beaches. While we are in favor of open beaches, allowing residents to park on all but the beach blocks would be a first step in opening up access to the beach. Something has to be done. The present rules are ludicrous and restrictive and hurt both those who have apartments for rent and those who rent them.

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