Clinton Hill

Clinton Hill residents blast city plan for suddenly taking away their parking

August 2, 2019 Kelly Mena
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A new parking plan that snuck up on unsuspecting residents last week is getting serious community pushback as city officials attempt to curb parking violations across the city.

Called the Residential Loading Zone Program, the new parking signs prevent anyone from parking Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in pre-selected locations (there are 12 so far) across Brooklyn and the rest of the city in a bid to decrease congestion where bike lanes and bus routes run along narrow corridors. The rollout of the program was first reported by Kings County Politics.

There are three corridors in Brooklyn where the signs have popped up: Greene Avenue from Cumberland Street to Classon Avenue; Bergen Street from New York Avenue to Sixth Avenue; and Manhattan Avenue from Ainslie Street to Bayard Street.

Residential Loading Zone no parking sign on Greene Avenue. Eagle file photo by Kelly Mena

“The loading zones will work to provide curb space during daytime and evening hours to allow for the pick-up and drop-off of passengers as well as loading and unloading of goods – helping to more efficiently utilize curb space and reduce the number of double parked cars,” a DOT spokesperson said in a public statement.

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More than a dozen residents, led by former District Leader Renee Collymore, rallied on Thursday night on the corner of Cambridge Place and Greene Avenue to call on the city’s transportation agency to take down the signs. Collymore led the group of seniors and residents in a chant of “Take the signs down, take the signs down!”

“This is unconscionable,” said resident Linda Maurice Vittal at the protest. “Because I couldn’t get up at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning and move my car, I got a $185 ticket. Then I got a $60 ticket for parking there. Then, when I went to redeem my car, I got a flat tire because the lady who put my car on the trailer pushed down on it. I spent 2 1/2 hours at the [Brooklyn Navy Yard] … now you tell me if that’s right.”

Other residents claim the pilot program is taking away vital parking spaces on blocks where competition for spots is already fierce.

“No commercial parking is ridiculous,” said Clinton Hill resident Jonathan Edwards. “I have lived here for 30 years. They don’t use it! I’ve seen three cars today double parking even though there’s spaces. So why are we losing parking spaces if they aren’t even using it?”

Local businesses claim their deliveries aren’t being helped by the program either. One longtime bodega owner says his daily beverage servicer double parks sometimes but generally tries to keep out of the way.

“No one complains,” Abdel Ahmed, the owner of a bodega on the corner of Grand Avenue and Greene Avenue, told the Eagle. “They need to get rid of the signs because too many people want to park here and there is already no parking at all in this area.”

City Council member Laurie Cumbo, who represents corridors affected by the pilot program, said that a Wednesday night meeting with Brooklyn transportation head Keith Bray left her feeling that the program had disregarded community input.

“He said flippantly, ‘Tell your people to send me an email. I get thousands of emails, give the community my email address, that’s fine,’” Cumbo told people at the rally.

The councilmember has already put out a list of demands following immediate pushback on the program, including refunding of money spent on the violations, clarification on the pilot program’s scope and community input on future transportation initiatives.

Though Bray has opened up his email to comment and concerns on the program, an in-person meeting has not been scheduled. The program is expected to last for a year, at which point transportation officials will review the success of the initiative and look to expand the program.

“I have my neighbors getting mad at me because I am getting mad at them because they are blocking my drive way,” said Donna Thornhill, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 50 years. “People are so frustrated to find parking that they just don’t care anymore. It’s just going overboard now because people are becoming a slave to a parking space.”

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  1. Isn’t this a Fulton Avenue Business Improvement District and now we know why the Coney Island and the 3rd Avenue BID are being opposed – in part this is what is becoming of a legal monopoly across all Business Improvement District across the city (76 and 23 in Brooklyn). It’s a dam shame!!!

  2. This article doesn’t do justice to how bad this is. This really is awful. There aren’t businesses here that need dropoff zones, this is just about revenue to pay meter maids in the area.