FINALLY!, the end of the summer parking season is upon us. Wherever you look around the west end of the peninsula you see the sad consequences of the maddeningly restrictive parking rules that torment our lives every May to September; cars parked on front lawns of dying grass, entire lawns paved over with concrete to create mini parking lots, treeless tree wells paved over or flattened so they don't restrict access to parking a car in front of the front stoops or porch, a proliferation of curb cuts both legal and illegal, ticketed cars of forgetful residents on Saturday mornings, and poor souls schlepping groceries in their arms and carts from far-away parking spots. The list of these environmental insults and needless aggravations go on and on. Then, you see endless blocks of empty curb space every weekend (and lets not forget holidays) throughout Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor and Neponsit and wonder why we torture ourselves so. We have asked these questions and proffered our solutions before. Our pleas always seem to fall on the deaf ears of politicians and the "I got mine" attitude of a few arrogant and influential West End aristocrats with spacious multi car driveways on 60 x 100's and their homeowners associations. But things are getting worse for the rest of us each summer and it is clear that something needs to be done to remediate or at least ameliorate the problem soon. As a first step, lets shorten the west end summer parking rules to start on the Memorial Day weekend and end on Labor Day, just as the beach season does. This should still provide plenty of protection against the dreaded "DFD's" that everyone knows, but everyone denies, was the original intent of the summer parking restrictions. We understand and appreciate the problems caused for homeowners by "DFD's" The problems are legendary and well documented. But for people to be still jockeying their cars on September 29 and 30 simply makes no rational sense. This fix is easy to implement and costs nothing but a few dollars for new signs and workers to put them up. This act alone would limit the draconian measures to 16 weekends instead of the 20 or so currently affected and make life that much easier for everyone. Now, lets move on to a more substantive and permanent solution. In deference to our Belle Harbor and Neponsit neighbors, who might argue that the current summer parking restrictions are not that big a deal, let's restrict our recommendations to the 200, 400, and 500 blocks of Rockaway Park between Beach 117 and Beach 128 streets, the area of the most dense multi and two family units and the most intense parking need and competition. We understand that changes to the parking rules on the beach blocks might cause safety problems so let's exclude them as well. The solution is simple. The summer parking problem can be remedied by the sale of summer parking permits. The mayor has already proposed a like program for the areas bordering the congestion pricing area, so why not Rockaway? Residents can be charged $100 to $150 per car for the season. Many would gladly pay, especially those who now have to walk blocks to their rented or legal parking spots. If you don't want to pay, just continue with parking the way you do now. The money raised by selling the permits could be used for the community good in maintaining parks and public areas. Enforcement is easy, either you have the current reflective sticker on your back bumper or you get ticketed. "DFD's" are quick learners, once ticketed they won't take the chance again, and buying a permit is just not cost effective if you don't use it nearly every weekend. So you don't have to restrict the permits to resident only. With the ability of the average homeowner or tenant to park in front of his home on the summer weekends maybe he will take out the concrete, plant grass, shrubs, and trees, and restore natural beauty to our streets and neighborhoods. What is the downside to that plan? Outside of putting a hurt on the summer parking space rental market, there is none that we can see, So, let's give this idea a chance for a few seasons. Let's get a program in place by next summer. Are you listening Councilman? Mayor? If it works out, it just might peak the interest of those far west end hoity-toity naysayer's. And why not? we're glad to share the good life with you neighbor!