City Council Gives Thumbs Up to Resident Permit Parking
CITY HALL — The City Council voiced its support Thursday for a plan that would allow neighborhoods to reserve street parking for local residents — a move that could one day transform the nightmare that is parking in New York.
The council voted 40 - 8 in favor of a “home rule” resolution that calls on state lawmakers to give the city permission to create a new parking permit system that would give residents dibs on 80 percent of neighborhood spots for a fee.
Supporters say the system could drastically alleviate parking woes for local residents, as well as ease congestion and traffic accidents.
“A permit system is long overdue in neighborhoods where residents spend hours circling for parking near their homes,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron, who introduced home rule legislation in Albany with Assemblywoman Joan Millman in response to concerns from downtown Brooklyn residents who are bracing for the opening of the new Barclays Center sports arena next fall.
But even proponents acknowledge that getting the support of state lawmakers will be a challenge.
"We'll see," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. If the state passes the home rule legislation, the city would still have to hammer out the details for implementation.
And while Manhattan’s full delegation voted in favor of the home rule law Thursday, members were cautious when it came to endorsing the plan for their blocks.
“I’m not sure,” said Quinn when asked whether she thought the permit system might be a good option for her district, which spans Greenwich Village and Chelsea.
While she said she’s heard from certain residents, especially in Greenwich Village, who are strongly in favor, she wants to wait to hear more.
“It would be too early, I think, for any of us to say specifically about any neighborhood,” she said.
Upper Manhattan Councilman Robert Jackson said that Washington Heights could also be an option for the permits, which could help ease congestion near the George Washington Bridge, where he said many New Jersey and Westchester residents park so they can take the train.
“That’s an issue,” he said, but cautioned that the decision may be up to members of Community Board 12 to decide whether to endorse the plan.
Under the legislation, at least 20 percent of spots in zoned areas would be reserved for non-permit holders. Commercial- and retail-zoned streets as well as metered spots would be exempt and all proceeds would go to fund city buses and subways.
The legislation also requires that public hearings be held before any permit zone is formed.
Some critics have slammed the move as a cash-grab by the city, while others have raised concerns about the potential impact on local businesses.
The Department of Transportation also testified against the legislation at a hearing Wednesday, arguing that enforcing the permits would be costly and divide residents.
"Where [permit parking] has worked, it has generally been in cities with low densities and less demand for curb parking," Deputy Commissioner David Woloch said in prepared testimony, arguing that the plan had “enormous potential for unintended consequences."