City Council to Vote on Plan to Issue Permits for Street Parking

By Jill Colvin on November 3, 2011 6:46am 

New York's parking woes could be eased by a residents parking permit scheme.
New York's parking woes could be eased by a residents parking permit scheme.
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DNAinfo/Amy Zimmer

MANHATTAN — The City Council is set to vote Thursday on legislation that could transform the nightmare that is parking in New York.

The council’s Committee on State and Federal Legislation passed a resolution Wednesday urging state lawmakers to give the city permission to create a new residential parking permit system that would give residents dibs on 80 percent of neighborhood spots. The full council is set to weigh in Thursday afternoon.

Supporters say the system would make street parking less of a nightmare for residents, as well as ease congestion, traffic accidents and pollution.

“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 the legislation in Albany with Assemblywoman Joan Millman in response to specific concerns from downtown Brooklyn residents.

They were concerned about where they’ll park once the new Barclays Center sports arena opens in the neighborhood next year.

But the legislation would open the door to neighborhoods across the city to opt into the permit system, which promises to bring relief to thousands of drivers in a city where parking woes are legendary.

Permits would be sold by the Department of Transportation, with all proceeds going to fund city buses and subways.

Under the proposal, the permits would not apply to commercial or retail-zoned streets or metered spots, and would require that at least 20 percent of spots in zoned areas be reserved for non-permit holders.

The legislation also requires that public hearings be held before any permit zone is formed.

“This legislation empowers communities that want parking permits while protecting small businesses, reducing congestion and helping fund our subways and buses,” Squadron said.

Some, however, have raised concerns about the potential impact on business owners as well as the price of enforcement.

The Department of Transportation testified Wednesday that enforcing the permits would be costly and that, even with permits, parking in a neighborhood would not be guaranteed, according to Streetsblog.

“Where RPP has worked, it has generally been in cities with low densities and less demand for curb parking,” Deputy Commissioner David Woloch reportedly said, arguing that the plan had “enormous potential for unintended consequences.”

Many cities, including Washington, D.C., already use some type of residential permit system.

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