Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alternate Side Suspended Again and Again!

Yes it's true. Alternate Side Parking is suspended on Thur (9/30) and Fri (10/1) so that even that most devout ritual can have a day of rest. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 of them actually!

We who park on NYC streets celebrate all religions and this week especially. So while some will understandably be aware of less earthly matters, others will just be aware. So if you move your car tomorrow, you will not have to worry about moving it again until Monday. Or, for the really initiated, move it Tue and not worry about it again until next Tue.

Check Twitter AltSideParkNYC for daily Alternate Side rules in effect.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tight Lipped City Officials Won’t Say where Parking Spaces Will Be Cut.

As many of us have realized the Bloomberg’s administration “re-engineering of the city’s street grid” is costing us parking spaces, not to mention adding to the very traffic congestion he was once so determined to alleviate with a drivers tax. Apparently he means to break those too many Manhattan drivers the old fashioned way, by just saying no. But the most alarming thing I have heard about these traffic redesigns came in a New York Times article this summer.
This article recounts statistics that show that the deadliest pedestrian accidents occur when male drivers turn left (and our favorite passenger said we weren’t listening!). The article also talks about the Bloomberg administration’s series of traffic pattern changes (barring vehicles from major avenues, the bike lanes, etc,). Then the article mentions a planned series of changes in line with these latest statistics and we are told:
"Dozens of parking spaces will be removed next year from a major Manhattan avenue — officials would not say which one…”
Representatives of the Bloomberg administration, our elected city government, already has plans for substantial changes on a major Manhattan avenue, but would not say which one. Excuse me? Does that feel as creepy to you as it does to me?
Our administration is playing secrets with public policy. Traffic strategies affect local residents and businesses and directly impact those businesses’ economic value. We have a right to know. Since when is our American standard of open government subject to the whims of a few people who won a local election? Do we have a democratically elected Mayor or a Czar? Even Dad will let us know what kind of cake he is baking before it’s finished. Maybe that third term really does pervert all Mayors’ sense of entitlement. But no, I can’t imagine Ed Koch using such an intrigue, looking askance, like a jilted Doris Day, and refusing to say where he plans to make changes that will affect traffic and parking on a major Manhattan avenue.
If this administration truly fears open debate, prepared community review, and needs to ambush local communities with its special agenda, then maybe it’s because it’s not such a good agenda. Please feel free to click on the Contact the Mayor link to the right and let Mayor Bloomberg know you are old enough to know what he plans to do in your neighborhood before he actually does it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Parking Trends or Why We Need Alternate Side Parking

          Late at night, in their Draconian castle, that is only visible when the fog lifts on the East River, the Master Magicians of the DOT are at work apparating time and space, mixing memory and desire, creating and destroying matter to determine those times where and when people can legally park. Those other times and places (we will not speak their name in this post) are better discussed with a therapist or an exorcist. Blessed as I am with the enviable task of poring over DOT Tables and Table entries of Parking regulations for Manhattan, occasionally I awake to catch an early glimpse of their dark deeds. But this latest is the most eye opening yet.
          Somewhere in the southern hemisphere of the East Side, Alternate Side Parking Regulations are being partially lifted. Huh? Yes, On at least First Avenue, a number of blocks that were formerly Mon – Fri a half hour of No Parking For Street Sweeping followed by 10 or so hours of Metered Parking are losing their Street Sweeping Rules, so that only the Metered Parking is left. That’s good news, right? Now we can park on those block for longer stretches. No longer do we have to clear out for a measly half hour of sometimes ON, sometimes OFF street cleaning. Hurray! Yahoo! (Google?)
          That’s it then. It’s good news and we can all wander off to some other Blog for a while or step outside for some of those last rays of summer. Or is it? Not so fast DOT! What are you up to? I hate to be that suspicious New Yorker, always looking for the ambush, the sweet tasting poison, the other shoe (parking sign) to drop, but parking in this city has sharpened my animal instincts and I have both preyed upon the slower moving and been swallowed whole by this whale of a city along with hundreds of others in one bite. So when that raspy, dark magic voice on my left shoulder says to me “It’s a trap! “Why would they lift street sweeping parking hours that are already well established in the neighborhood?” “Did anyone announce they were cutting back street sweeping?” “Or a new bike path?” “Just what are they up to now?” I tend to listen.
          How can they sweep if there is not a time that all cars are required to vacate? Do the Einsteinian and Bloombergian quantum relativity theory of probabilities prove conclusively that those sections on the West Side of First Avenue will be free often enough for sweeping anyway? Do the forces of gravity and erosion cause rainfall to naturally scrub this avenue on its way to supplying the city’s most magnificent fountains, not to mention forging nearby mountain streams and lakes? Is there a secret and ancient feud between the East and West Sides of First Avenue and this the latest and most insidious assault yet? But hey, what do we care about having clean streets or the cool cats who after 60 or so years of litter laws (or 40 years of Earth Days) still throw their garbage at your and my feet. This means relaxed parking restrictions and the Hell with the rest! Right?
          “Be careful what you wish for.” says the brainy siren’s voice on my right shoulder. “WhatsHisName on the other side of this pointy rock you call a head likes to complain about constant Alternate Side shifting and ticket agents stalking, but the truth is we who have the privilege to park on this great city’s streets need Sanitation Restricted Parking. If we didn’t have it, there would not be enough movement and enough freeing up of parking spaces for those of us who dared to take our cars anywhere.”
          She’s right (and pretty too!). A whole lot of us would be happy to leave our cars where they are until a really worthy night out or inner city happening comes up. (If you are commuting in your car, my sympathies.) The necessity of moving our cars every day makes the use of our cars at least a reasonable throw of the dice, actually increases the chances that we will use our car. Just consider last week’s string of suspended Alt Side Days. Did you decide against taking your car just once because it was good for tomorrow? If you still don’t believe me ask yourself this: have you ever uttered the phrase, “I have to move my car anyway, so I can… drop you off, pick you up, stop in at, or [your phrase here]? “
          If we never had to move our cars for Street Sweeping, competition would be more fierce. There would be Squatters and Street Parking Barons, Haves and Have Nots. Prime spaces would become more prime because we would stay in them longer. We would have to curry favor with the local Parking Bosses before we set off on that weekend getaway. And we would have dirtier streets. So let’s all give a moment of thanks for Alternate Side Parking.Hip Hip Hooray! Yahoo! (Google!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer Isn’t Over!

Sure Labor Day has come and gone like that sun on your smiling face, but there is still much to rejoice as we are about to enter some of the holiest days on the calendar. That’s right. Alternate Side Suspended Days! (see full calendar) If you stayed close to home this weekend you could be in the midst of a 10 day relief from having to move your car for Alt Side. That’s 10 days without the Should I stay or should I go? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, this side to that, from 2 to fro, with no fines to owe, or trucks to tow, and a little extra time to blow, to make a better rhyme or… Whoa! But seriously, enjoy it!

As it stands now most of us do not have to move until Monday, and if you are on the Monday side, why not stay there and enjoy the next 7 days getting home a little earlier than usual, texting someone close to you, or even trying public transportation to see what all that is about?