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For years, neighborhoods like Downtown have been clamoring for residential parking permits. Residents spend hours circling for spots near their homes, where commuters often leave their cars on the street and take public transportation. In fact, a Downtown Brooklyn Council study found that more than 40 percent of on-street parked vehicles in the neighborhood are commuter cars.
The endless circling — and ensuing congestion, pedestrian hazards, and air and noise pollution — is bad already, and will spread to even more neighborhoods when the Barclays Center opens.
My bill, sponsored by Joan Millman in the Assembly, would set aside spots for residents on their streets while leaving at least 20 percent of spaces for visitors and non-permit parking. Streets with commercial and retail space, and spots with existing meters and other restrictions would not be eligible for permitting — providing protection for small businesses and their customers. The exact cost would be set by the City Council, but other cities provide a pretty good estimate: anywhere from free to about $100 a year. Revenue from the permits would directly fund the upgrading and improvement of NYC subways and buses.
Most important, communities would opt into the program through public hearings with the local community board and City Council member.
Yet opponents are trying to ensure that this bill, which provides communities with the choice they’ve been demanding for years, is dead on arrival. It’s only fair to let residents, not politicians, decide whether they want parking permits on their streets. Opponents of residential parking permits seem to be missing one key fact: if they don’t like the idea, they don’t need to opt into it. What our legislation does is provide communities with a choice: neighborhoods that want permitting will get it, and those that don’t simply won’t.
The Council agrees, voting this month behind the support of Councilmembers Steve Levin, Letitia James and others to give Albany a green light to consider our bill. Now it’s time for Albany to act: the Senate Republican majority must bring parking permits to a vote: Residential parking permits should not be killed in an Albany backroom.
Daniel Squadron, a Democrat, represents Brooklyn Heights in the state Senate.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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