CANPAS Defeated In RBB Parking Fight
By Brian Magoolaghan
and Alyssa Goldstein
While the debate over the issue hit its peak at a public meeting called in June by CB14’s Transportation Committee, about 40 people turned out to this week’s general meeting to bolster on both sides. Speakers had one minute to address, and passion ran high; some trembled with nerves.
One woman nearly cried as she told the board how she worries that parked cars would block emergency vehicles from reaching her elderly mother’s home.
Steve Cromity read the Transportation Committee’s findings to the board, which cited four “overwhelming factors” to keep the parking ban in place: There were more people in favor of the “status quo;” it seemed impractical to permit parking on only three blocks; the now defunct Rockaway Park Association signed off agreement with the Department of Transportation in 2002 agreeing that the median project would eliminate parking; and the original plans for the Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor medians called for no parking and two lanes in each direction.
The board’s vote came down to 18 in favor with signs, 11 against and one abstention.
“It was a good fight while it lasted,” said Linda Ruscillo, who with her husband Daniel formed the Coalition Against ‘No Parking Anytime’ Signs. The majority of the crowd at Tuesday’s meeting was against restoring parking and members clapped heartily when the results were announced. The Knights of Columbus cleared out after the vote except for about 15-20 people who had other business before the board.
The Ruscillo’s coalition suffered a major setback in June when the Transportation Committee voted overwhelmingly last month to keep the ‘no parking’ signs. Committees are generally considered a good barometer for the board as a whole.