New Yorkers have long complained about suburban commuters taking their parking spots, and now they have a group of elected officials on their side. Later today, a group of City Council members intend to introduce two separate bills that would create a residential parking program, giving preference to local residents over outside commuters.
A bill set to be introduced by Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents Washington Heights and Inwood, would enforce a residential parking program citywide, whereas the bill being introduced by Council members Helen Rosenthal, Mark Levine, and Keith Powers would limit it to all of Manhattan above 60th Street, according to the New York Times.
NYC is one of the only major cities across the United States where such a residential parking program doesn’t exist. Many upstate cities like Albany and Buffalo have some form of residential parking, but similar proposals in NYC have never passed muster with the state legislature. A 2011 proposal to enforce residential parking in Brooklyn at the time when the Barclays Center opened failed at the state level, and some transit officials worry the same might happen this time around as well.
The bill being introduced by Levine, Rosenthal and Powers would ask the city’s Department of Transportation to designate specific areas within neighborhoods where these parking rules would apply, and also determine the days and times when they would be in effect. The goal is to ensure that up to 80 percent of the parking spots on residential streets are reserved for local residents. These requirements won’t be put in place on streets that are zoned commercial or retail.
Other requirements the bill asks of the DOT include holding public hearings with the local community board before implementing such programs; ensure that such permits are only issued to those holding a New York State driver’s license; ensure that permits are attached to specific license plates; and that only one permit is issued per licensed driver.
“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,” said Council member Levine in a statement. “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. 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.”