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Parking permits will help

I recently spoke out in support of residential parking permits for Downtown, specifically in the area surrounding the Atlantic Yards project and the upcoming Barclays Center. I have long been a supporter of these permits; even before this development, I felt that permits offered a viable solution to the “park-and-ride” issue at the Atlantic Center terminal.

In fact, Mayor Bloomberg’s citywide sustainability proposal — PlaNYC 2030 — included a congestion pricing plan that would incorporate residential permit parking. Residents with parking permits would be allowed to park in established parking zones during the day. Residential drivers would be charged an annual fee to acquire resident-only permits, the fee being comparable with similar permit programs in other major cities. In the past, I have strongly supported this proposal.

Of course, there are other residential parking permit proposals in existence, including plans that would enact pre-set time periods when the permit’s usage would be viable. I believe that it is important to have on ongoing dialogue with the community concerning this issue so that I can communicate most effectively with the administration and the state Department of Transportation.

Many people may not be aware that currently, motorists are only eligible to obtain permit parking from New York State if they have a certified disability. This, of course, excludes the vast majority of New York motorists from enjoying what should not be a luxury — the right to park in their own neighborhood. This is not just a win for residents, but a win for New York state as well. Consider this: a parking permit that requires all auto vehicles owned in Downtown to be registered in New York (and with New York state license plates) in order to qualify, would increase state income. Keep in mind that New York registration requires both liability and accident insurance.

I am certainly not alone in supporting residential permit parking in New York. State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman introduced legislation that would do just that. The latest in a considerable amount residential parking permit-related legislation to come out of the Council is a resolution recently introduced by myself and Councilman Steve Levin calling for the passage of those state bills, and the implementation of residential parking permits within the city.

I strongly believe that residential parking permits have the potential to reduce traffic congestion, pollution emissions, needless traffic accidents (especially those that lead to pedestrian fatalities), and noise pollution. This would especially be appreciated in Downtown as we face the long-term development of the Atlantic Yards project.

Councilwoman Letitia James represents parts of Prospect Heights.

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