2012-10-12 / Letters

Careful What You Wish For

Dear Editor,

Once again, Mr. Schwach, you have decided to take the side of those who support resident summer parking on the streets in the Tri-community. One reason Mr. Schwach is so outspoken as an advocate for resident parking permits in our neighborhood could be that for the decades he has lived here, he made the conscious decision not to buy a house but to rent, comforted in the knowledge that were disaster to hit us, he merely had to pack a bag and leave. Many of us, who have the bulk of our life savings invested in our homes here, however, beg to differ with Mr. Schwach’s sentiments knowing that restricted parking enhances our property value more than decreases it.

Here are some parking facts readers might wish to take under consideration: Now more than ever, families who can afford it have multiple cars (I know one with 7). We lost more than 200 spaces when the medians were installed. Newly constructed condos require a $30,000 payment for the parking space that used to go along with a unit for a nominal monthly fee. Liken this to a PSL.

With Riis Parking Lot fee at $10, you can bet there will be deafening responses to Tri-community resident parking permits that will eventually result in open parking for all. That, Mr. Schwach, is the trap you have fallen into. Opening up the peninsula to resident parking on weekends in the summer opens up Pandora’s Box as in, “if those ‘elitists’ in Rockaway can have their own personal weekend parking, why can’t it be opened to all?” Wait and see, Howie, because if we have it your way, open parking for all, not just residents, is a foregone conclusion.

What does open parking open us up to? We can expect autos being driven up and down our blocks, drivers seeking parking spaces taken up by locals. We expect forgeries of the permits that will, although illegal, allow those with the forgeries a weekend parking space. The ultimate slap in the face to the Tricommunity, however, is that now, restricted parking hurts everyone on and off the peninsula. If we are allowed, through permits, to occupy street spaces to the exclusion of outside residents, our newly acquired parking perks will definitely lead to mass complaints from DFDs; and, sooner than later, expanded parking for all. Is that what we really want?

Once again, the fewer cars on our streets at any time helps keep our neighbors safe from fires; and, without a hospital (our closest hospital located in Brooklyn), we need uncrowded streets for emergency vehicle transport.

The facts have not changed: The peninsula is four blocks wide from Beach 116 westward with no room for expansion. Those of us who bought and own homes in the neighborhood recognized this fact when we purchased our homes and were willing to live with the restrictions posted here. Affluence, even in tough economic times, has some families owning several cars, purchased knowing our parking regulations.

However, one of the considerations that comes with buying or renting in the Tri-community is the parking: the good and bad of it. The only way this will change is when renters like you who fail to see the big picture plant the seeds for negative change.

Just because some families can afford 7 cars doesn’t mean they have to own them knowing the parking problems in Rockaway. If a bit of inconvenience isn’t worth living here then what is?

Reassessing our automotive issues is what the discussion should be about. A Park ‘n Ride from Riis Parking Lot into Manhattan in autumn, winter and part of spring combined with the summer ferry could allow families to get rid of their commuter car. A local vehicle that runs to that bus or ferry could clinch the deal.

Let us be circumspect when it comes to parking and take in the big picture: Parking to renters will always be a consideration. And, isn’t it interesting how renters squeal the loudest when it comes to peninsula parking. However, opening up the parking floodgates to crowding and unsafe conditions in the Tri-community area that were never considered by Mr. Schwach will harm our neighborhood far further than the current parking regulations that restrict beach block parking above Beach 126 and forbid parking on weekends in prime weather.

Be careful what you squeal for, Howie, your wishes might ruin the very neighborhood you never thought enough of to invest in. The neighborhood is wonderful partially because of the parking restrictions. It is about time you looked at peninsula parking through the eyes of homeowners, especially those on beach blocks, many of whom regard summer parking restrictions as essential for our safety and well-being. Be careful what you wish for, Howie. Your wish might just come true.

JOAN METTLER

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