2011-11-04 / Top Stories

State Flirts With Parking Permits Proposal

By Nicholas Briano

How residential parking permits would impact the existing summer parking regulations is unclear under the proposal. How residential parking permits would impact the existing summer parking regulations is unclear under the proposal. Neighborhood parking permits proposed by members of the State legislature have gotten a lot of attention this week. The basis of the idea would restrict up to 80 percent of parking on neighborhood blocks to the residents themselves.

The impact of this would be felt most in places such as Brooklyn, near the soon-to-be Barclay’s Center and around many vulnerable park-and-ride neighborhoods where commuters park their cars on residential blocks and walk to the train.

In Rockaway, where parking has always been a contentious issue, especially on the western end, a plan such as this would have a unique impact on the peninsula. The specifics of the proposal are not clear as to whether the plan will be a city-wide effort or just be limited to neighborhoods that are problematic for local residents to park.

In the event residential parking permits are issued city-wide, the question of whether they would be active in the summer months where parking restrictions already exist will have to be determined. West of Beach 117 Street there’s no parking Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from May 15 to September 30 as many residents already know. Phillip Goldfeder, the new Assembly member on the block, is still undecided about how a plan such as this would impact the western end of the Rockaway peninsula with its already existing parking regulations.

“When we increase parking availability it’s always important, especially in Rockaway where we see masses of people attending our beaches, to find ways that make parking within the community beneficial to the actual residents,” Goldfeder said. “My first reaction to all this is to meet with the residents. My goal here is to represent my constituents. While on the surface I think residential passes are great because it would allow first priority to residents, I still have to see and I definitely want to talk with the residents first.”

As Goldfeder ponders his position, New York City Councilmember Eric Ulrich, on the other hand, is fully supportive of the idea, calling it “a long time coming.”

Ulrich, whose district encompasses a troublesome park-and-ride area near Lefferts Boulevard by the airport, says people park their cars to go to the airport and leave them there for days at a time, then hop on the air train to get to the airport.

“I think this is something the state should have authorized a long time ago,” Ulrich said. “People paying taxes in this city should be entitled to a spot on the street. It would protect the interest of the people who live in these areas while at the same time address the concern about people who can’t always find parking.”

On the western end of the peninsula, however, he did admit that parking is always a controversial issue; but at the same time there should be nothing wrong with someone who lives on a block in Belle Harbor actually being able to park there. The summer parking restrictions were put in place to maintain quality of life in those areas and he’s not willing to compromise that.

“People who live on those blocks enjoy good quality of life and I’m not going to compromise it, but if we can create a greater sense of flexibility over who parks on the block, it may not be a bad thing.”

The permits being proposed by state lawmakers would require a still to be determined fee. State Senator Marty Golden of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, whose district has their fair share of residential parking nightmares, is opposed to the plan. Golden told the New York Post this week that he would vote against such a plan that would require someone to pay for a permit to park their car. He said drivers “shouldn’t be taxed for the privilege to park your car in New York City.”

It’s also unclear if the plan will be a city-wide initiative or just be targeted to problematic areas such as around the Barclay’s Center and park-and-ride areas for mass-transit commuters such as Lefferts Boulevard, Long Island City and downtown Brooklyn, to name a few. The council was expected to give their endorsement to the plan this week. It’s then up to the State Assembly and Senate to pass the measure. According to reports, the State Assembly has backed the plan while the Senate says they are undecided.

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