Opinion: a simple solution to DUMBO parking woes

August 20, 2022 Special from David Yassky
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David Yassky. Photo: davidyassky.com

The cobblestone streets of the DUMBO section of Brooklyn have become such a tourist hotspot that some have taken to calling it the new Times Square. But while DUMBO is trendier than Times Square, it is also a residential neighborhood. Congestion in Times Square affects tourists and New Yorkers who make the mistake of trying to drive into that section of midtown Manhattan. The hardships of overcrowding in DUMBO fall entirely and unfairly on people who live there.

With DUMBO’s popularity only growing, establishing parking permits for DUMBO residents is an easy way to alleviate the conflict between residents and tourists.

The whole of DUMBO is substantially less than one square mile, and to cater to tourists, streets are often closed for events and for visitors to stroll down open streets. This causes a small community with already limited parking to compete for spots with day-trippers. It also forces emergency vehicles and delivery trucks to try to navigate DUMBO’s narrow side streets, and places a strain on small businesses trying to make deliveries.

The demand for parking and the sheer number of visitors is so large, that many tourists ignore parking signage and restrictions and park illegally, sometimes brazenly so. Because of a lack of resources, parking enforcement in the neighborhood is spotty to say the least. Some residential buildings have tried to take matters in their own hands by putting out cones and loading zone signs, but to little effect.

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Emergency vehicles and buses can’t navigate the congestion. More than once, tractor trailers have sideswiped cars. Residents are fed up.

Taken together, residents have unfairly lost control of how they interact with their own community and how they come and go. It is not unlike if you asked someone to try to live in an amusement park.

By granting DUMBO residents a parking permit you ensure that the limited parking in the neighborhood is exclusively for the people living in DUMBO. Residents would have the benefit of knowing there is a parking spot for them, and it is far easier to accept the difficulty in finding one if you know they are occupied by your neighbors.

Permit parking will also cause DUMBO residents to be more accepting of the fact that they live in a tourist destination and they are certain to be more welcoming of tourists and day-trippers knowing they arrived there by taxi, Uber or public transportation.

And, it would provide a way for the City to generate revenue with easy enforcement.

I have long advocated for residential parking permits in all of the Brooklyn neighborhoods that are close to Manhattan and also abut Brooklyn’s own bustling Downtown. When congestion pricing is implemented, residential parking permits will be necessary throughout that area. For now, we can – in fact, must -start with DUMBO.

Whether they can park or not, visitors are coming to the residential neighborhood of DUMBO, so it is imperative to achieve a happy balance between them and the people that live there.

A residential parking permit is a very simple and painless way to do just that.

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