Bay Ridge

Gentile fights to change holiday parking rules

March 3, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Vincent Gentile wants parking meter rules suspended on holidays, just as alternate side of the street parking regulations are. Photo courtesy of Gentile’s office

New York City drivers are probably used to the announcement by now. Traffic reporters on television and radio routinely tell their viewers and listeners on holidays that alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules are suspended but that motorists still have to feed the meters.

Parking meter and muni-meter rules remain in effect on many days when drivers don’t have to worry about moving their cars for alternate-side-of-the-street regulations.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile is looking to change that.

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) said he’s tired of hearing that announcement and is equally tired of having to feed the meters on days when drivers are otherwise freed from parking regulations.

Gentile has introduced legislation that would suspend parking meter and muni-meter rules on all legal holidays to align with the suspension of alternate side parking on those dates.

“Legal holidays are significant to our culture and to religious sects. If we value it enough to recognize it and suspend alternate side parking, we should also suspend meters,” Gentile said in a statement.

The legislation, which Gentile introduced on Feb. 24, was prompted in part by complaints from constituents, the councilmember said.

“My constituents voice their complaints like clockwork on holidays via phone, email and social media, asking why the meters are in effect on a holiday. I agree with them. The rules are illogical and confusing when they should be consistent,” Gentile said.

Under Gentile’s bill, parking meters and muni-meters would be suspended on 28 holidays throughout the year, including Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Ascension Thursday, the Feast of the Assumption, the Feast of All Saints, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the first two days of Succoth, Shemini Atzareth, Simchas Torah, Shevuoth, Purim, Orthodox Holy Thursday, Orthodox Good Friday, the first two and last two days of Passover, the Muslim holidays of Eid Ul-Fitr and Eid Ul-Adha, the Asian Lunar New Year and the Hindu festival of Diwali on the day that Lakshmi Puja is observed.

In addition, all state and national holidays would fall under the new rules.

“Under the current rules, we currently have a ‘gotcha’ system and drivers are sitting ducks for ticket agents. I was successful in passing legislation to suspend parking meter and muni-meter rules on Sundays and I look forward to the day that we don’t have to pull out our wallets to park on legal holidays,” Gentile said.

In Bay Ridge, there was widespread support for Gentile’s bill but it was coupled with skepticism.

“He’s got a good idea. But it’ll never happen,” one man said as he was putting coins in a muni-meter on 86th Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues on Tuesday. “The city looks for any excuse to take our money.”