OPINION: It’s time to stop circling the block, here’s my plan to solve the parking crisis
If there’s one thing that the people of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, and Bensonhurst accept as an inevitable fact of life, it’s the lack of parking spots. But we don’t have to settle. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time for a comprehensive plan that makes parking easier for the residents of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach. We all pay way too much to live in our neighborhoods, and work too hard, only to come home and spend 45 minutes or more looking for a parking spot.
The parking problems in our neighborhoods are compounded by the transportation issues that plague us (overcrowded and unreliable R and D trains, too few buses, and no easy access to the ferries). It is becoming too hard to get around the city, and impossible to find parking on our own blocks.
Unlike some people, I am not willing to accept this as our fate. I am not willing to move to Staten Island just so I have a place to park my car at the end of the day.
When elected to City Council, I am going to propose a Parking Plan that creates spaces and prevents the loss of more precious parking spots in our neighborhoods.
Step one to solving our parking problem is to create more spaces. Impossible? Nope. We are Brooklynites. We are the best at seizing opportunities and making the most of what we have. Let’s start by creating 90 degree parking spots in low trafficked areas like the lot near New Corners in Bay Ridge, or the streets around Leif Erikson Park. The more spaces we have, the better the chances of getting a spot.
I call for a total audit of all NYC fire hydrants, and the immediate removal of non-working fire hydrants to clear up more parking spaces and reduce the number of nuisance tickets issued to residents in our neighborhoods. 38% of broken fire hydrants are not repaired in a timely manner and it is still legal for the City to ticket you for parking next to a fire hydrant that is nonworking. So let’s remove the dead hydrants and free up some spaces.
While we’re at it, we need to crack down on illegal driveways. This is simple, folks. It is against the law to build your own driveway without a permit from the city. It is against the law to cut the curb so you can park on your own cement-paved lawn, yet it is out of control in some areas of the district. This is illegal and dangerous. We need to take back our legal parking spots and punish the offenders who are trying to make our shared space their own.
We also need to crack down on other parking offenders, like those who block legal driveways. If it’s not a spot, don’t use it like a spot. In no way does that help our parking problems. It exacerbates them, and creates unnecessary tension in our neighborhoods. To do this, we need targeted enforcement. Under my plan, I will designate one traffic cop per precinct to exclusively give tickets to people who block driveways and to homeowners who have illegal driveways.
Next, we have to protect the parking spots we do have in our neighborhoods. That means saying no to Citi Bikes taking up parking spots. We have a good model in Washington, D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare Program, where they make use of sidewalks and other public spaces, not on-street parking spots, to dock bikes.
And finally, we should look into residential parking permits. I can’t say it enough; we pay too much to live in our neighborhoods, to get so few services from the City. Let’s make it possible to park where we live. Let’s reduce this one hassle so we can have a chance to enjoy the neighborhoods we live in, instead of circling around the block for hours, wasting our time and money.