New York City car owners who live in Upper Manhattan may soon need a residential parking permit if new City Council legislation is passed.
Councilmembers Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal and Keith Powers on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require the city’s Department of Transportation to create and implement a residential parking permit (RPP) for all areas north of 60th Street and through Inwood.
The legislation would enable the DOT to designate 80 percent of parking spaces on certain residential blocks to the residents of that neighborhood, with the remaining 20 percent available to non-residents. The DOT would also decide the days and times permit requirements would be in effect.
The measure aims to offset crowding and congestion from non-resident commuters who drive into Upper Manhattan and park their cars to switch to the subway, a practice that could increase if congestion pricing passes for cars traveling below 60th Street in Manhattan.
“For too long, suburban commuters have taken advantage of free street parking in Northern Manhattan and crowded out the people who actually live in our neighborhoods,” Levine said. “Whether you live in Washington Heights or the Upper East Side, parking in our borough is an incredible challenge for so many who live here. Manhattan is already facing a suffocating congestion crisis that is hurting our economy, threatening the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and poses a danger to our environment. We can’t afford to continue as one of the only big cities in America that doesn’t have a residential parking permit system — this policy is long overdue.”
The RPP proposal would also require the DOT to hold public hearings with community boards prior to putting RPP into effect, only issue permits to those with a New York state driver’s license, ensure permits are attached to specific license plate number and limit the number of permits issued to one licensed motorist.
“Residential permit parking is a great step toward a more sensible street policy,” Rosenthal said. “There’s a reason that nearly every other major city in the country has implemented such a system — it makes good sense to discourage folks from driving to neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and to make life a little easier for existing residents.”
Representatives of the DOT and Mayor Bill de Blasio told the New York Post that they would review the RPP proposal when they are introduced, but DOT officials told the paper that the residential parking permits would need state approval.
The Post also reported that Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez is seeking a citywide RPP program in which permit holders would pay a fee to park in their designated area.