Residential Parking Permits May Soon Take Over Northern Manhattan Streets

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Residential parking permits may soon become a reality on certain Manhattan streets -- and New Yorkers, as with most things, have mixed feelings about it.

City Council members Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Keith Powers and Diana Ayala, as well as co-chairs of the Manhattan Delegation, introduced the bill Wednesday.

The proposed legislation would require the city’s Department of Transportation to create a residential parking permit system for Northern Manhattan, including all areas north of 60th street through Inwood bounded by the intersection of Spuyten Duyvill Creek and Harlem River.

According to officials, neighborhoods in the northern half of Manhattan face issues related to crowding and congestion due to commuters leaving their cars on local streets in order to travel by subway increasingly face the crowding — a problem, they say, would be severely exacerbated should congestion pricing ever be implemented.

The bill addresses this problem by requiring the DOT to designate specific areas and neighborhoods with a residential parking permit system and to determine the days and times when permit requirements would be in effect.

“Traffic congestion is an ongoing economic, health and safety crisis, and the city must begin to equitably tackle this street congestion using the most powerful tool they have at their disposal: authority over the more than 6,000 miles of streets across the city,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement. Transportation Alternatives is a group that advocates for better bicycling, walking and public transit for all New Yorkers.

The program is designed to give local residents priority for on-street parking in residential areas and to discourage park-and-ride commuters. New York is one of the only major cities in America that does not have some version of a residential parking permit system, according to city officials.

“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,” Council Member Mark Levine said in a statement, adding that, “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,”

Under the proposed law, DOT would be able to reserve up to 80 percent of parking spaces on designated residential blocks for people who live in that specific neighborhood, leaving the remaining spots for non-residents.

“Residential permit parking is a great step toward a more sensible street policy,” Council Member Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, said.

The residential parking permit system would not be implemented on streets zoned for commercial or retail use.

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