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Parking Reserved for UWS School Pickups Should Return to Residents, CB Says

By Emily Frost | September 4, 2014 11:13am
 Residents have fought the loss of three parking spaces that were converted to a "no standing" zone in order to appease congestion outside the school. 
Columbia Grammar and Prep Parking
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UPPER WEST SIDE — Residents who lost three parking spots in front of a local private school to ease congestion during school drop-offs and pickups may see them returned after the local community board voted that they be converted back.

Community Board 7 voted Tuesday night to petition the DOT to return the "no standing" spots it gave over for use by Columbia Grammar and Prep on West 93rd Street to regular on-street parking spaces.

Despite a plea by several board members to not "second guess" the agency's decision, the board still ruled in favor of returning the spots to drivers.

The congested area around the West 93rd Street school has long been a point of contention for neighbors, who said they're tired of idling cars, honking and backed-up traffic in the morning and afternoon.

They also charged that the "no standing" spots had been used for actual parking by Bentley-driving chauffeurs who drop kids off at the school without ever receiving summonses.

To address the issue, Columbia Grammar said it hired traffic engineering consultant Sam Schwartz, who recommended the three spots in front of the residential building at 10 W. 93rd St. become an additional "no standing" zone. The DOT made the change just before the beginning of the 2013-'14 school year, the agency said. 

"While we regret the inconvenience caused to the residents of 10 West, we feel the overall improvement in traffic flow and general safety for the neighborhood outweighs their concerns," said Geoffrey Hinds, the school's coordinator of Safety, Security and Transportation, in an email.

A DOT spokeswoman said the department would review the matter further.

CB 7 transportation committee co-chairman Dan Zweig said he was frustrated the DOT never came to the board with its plans. 

Other board members said they believe the remedy to the congestion shouldn't come at the expense of residents.

"Why isn’t Columbia Grammar discouraging parents from picking up their kids in SUVs?" asked board member Madge Rosenberg. "In a city with this kind of public transportation, I don’t understand why anyone needs to drive a child [to school]."