Sunday, November 7, 2010

City Council Considers Dramatic Changes in Alternate Side Parking Rules

This Tuesday (11/9) the City Council has three items on their agenda that could alter life with Alternate Side of the Street Parking as we know it. And if any of these proposed changes appeal to or concern you, you should write the city council, call your local representatives, spread the word, or somehow make your support (objections?) heard. If interested, the Find Your Council Member Page gives contact information for the Council Member of your district, and there is always the Contact the Mayor link on the right of this Blog.
(1) Int 0113-2010 A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to limiting the days that alternate side of the street parking is in effect in residentially zoned districts.
(2) Int 0287-2010 A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to reducing department of sanitation street cleaning days.
(3) Int 0375-2010 A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to allowing vehicles to park on the restricted side of a street which is subject to alternate side parking rules without being ticketed if the owner is in the vehicle and able to move it or if the street has already been cleaned.

Those of you who have heard my whines and complaints about Alternate Side Parking insanity may be surprised to know that I don’t favor the first two items above. Of course, (1) Limiting Alt Side in residential neighborhoods and/or (2) Limiting Alt Side everywhere sound like manna from Heaven, but lest we forget, Street Cleaning keeps our streets clean and, let’s face it, litter on our streets is the last major unsolved Quality of Life crime there is in this city. It’s the one social crime left that keeps New York from looking practically perfect. While many of us have successfully focussed past the amount of debris on our sidewalks and streets as we rush to wherever it is we have to be, anyone with small children or a dog experiences up close and personal our blossoming, low-lying, street waste.
And, keep in mind, rainwater flows from rooftops, sidewalks and streets to storm drains, and to our creeks, canals, and rivers. Street sweeping captures litter, sediment, and fallen leaves before they enter the storm drains protecting our waterways from these pollutants.
I also have little faith that, even if a reduction is put into effect, it would last for very long. As a great scientist somewhere told us, the DOT abhors a vacuum. Once Alt Side is discontinued on certain days, is it reasonable to think parking regulations in residential neighborhoods on these days will just stay vanished or will something else, something revenue producing, take its place. Muni Meters are a pretty easy install and the sign posts are already there.
Lastly, and I have mentioned this before in the Post "Parking Trends or Why We Need Alternate Side Parking," I believe, and I have very little evidence to prove it, that if Alt Side Rules are lessened, parking will become more difficult. Reasons for moving will be fewer and the open spaces it created will be harder to find. People will squat. Local residents may even organize the giving and taking of spaces that can be held for days at a time. An easing of Alternate Side Rules may even encourage more people to own cars.
The third (Int 0375-2010) seems like a no brainer, but, in this city, will still probably need your full support to get passed. As long as a driver is in the car and ready to move, of course, he or she should not be ticketed! The sign says No Parking NOT No Standing or No Stopping. The purpose of these laws is to enable street sweeping. Let’s revert to that more civilized way of life. It will be difficult to dispute a ticket based on the “already swept” defense, so get your cameras and cell phones ready. Still, just having this rule in the law will promote the writing of tickets for the purpose intended and should help make more reasonable ticket writing the norm. It may happen that a string of automobiles will trail and scatter behind a street sweeper like it is the Pied Piper or Johnny Appleseed of street parking but, of course, it may be.

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