An Alternative to Alternate Side

Written by Mary Kekatos on . Posted in News Our Town, News Our Town Downtown, News West Side Spirit.


Parking_photo by Dr De_fmt

Photo by Dr DeNo via Flickr

The City Council is proposing changes to alternate side parking rules that could alleviate some of the waiting-around time for car owners

“This is the most unproductive use of my time,” said Bob S. as he sat in his car on East 85th Street, waiting for the clock to hit 10:30 a.m. “I deal with this pretty much on a daily basis.”

It’s the bane of many a New Yorker’s existence: moving their cars for a 90-minute period while street sweepers come by to clean-up the litter. Often a row of cars can be seen double-parked on the street as drivers idly and impatiently wait for the hour and a half to end – lest they be issued a $45 ticket.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-10th), however, is sponsoring a bill that will relax alternate side parking rules. This planned legislation would allow cars to return to parking spaces once the street sweepers have come through, helping cut down the wait time significantly. For many drivers, this is an ideal situation.

“Every time the [street sweepers] pass, I say to myself, ‘Just let me park so I can leave’,” said Yonah Zerykier. “[The bill] sounds awesome and would help save so much time.”

“Parking in the city is either impossible to find or extremely expensive,” added Keila Torres. “Relaxing the rules would help breed a less stressful environment.”

While the bill has more than its fair share of advocates, 39 co-sponsors on the City Council alone, not everybody supports it. Although Mayor de Blasio finds Rodriguez’s efforts “commendable,” his administration just asked the City Council to hit the brakes on any new legislation.

Perhaps the most vehement opposition to the proposed change comes from the Department of Sanitation. Paul Visconti, assistant chief of operations, says that the relaxed rules will lead to more idling and that street sweepers will not be able to come through and sweep a second or third time.

Parking_photo by Molly_fmt

Photo by Molly Eyres via Flickr

If the bill is to pass, the city’s parking revenue would most certainly be affected. Last year alone, the city took in approximately $70 million from over 1.2 million alternate-side parking tickets. Rodriguez has criticized this – saying that parking attendants should not be going after working-class and middle-class drivers.

“The city can’t be sending meter maids around to ticket you after the sweeper goes through when we’re just trying to find a parking space,” Bob explained. “There aren’t enough spots in this city.”

Rodriguez would like to equip street sweeper vehicles with GPS technology, much like the city’s snow plows, so ticket agents could determine if a street sweeper had already passed by.

Despite many obstacles, council members are hoping to work with the mayor to pass the bill as quickly as possible. For the many New Yorkers who deal with the problem of alternate side parking on either a daily or weekly basis, they hope that the next step is some kind of change.

Ken Peters, a professor of economics at Baruch College explained in frustration, “Why should I have to sit here for an hour and a half? As an economist, it seems unproductive to sit around in my car once the street has already been cleaned.”

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