Manhattan Council Members Propose Residential Parking Permit Program

Transportation Alternatives Lauds Idea as Decongestion Tool


CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // [email protected]

Manhattan, New York -- Today, City Council Members Mark Levine & Helen Rosenthal, co-chairs of the Manhattan Delegation, and Council Members Keith Powers & Diana Ayala, will introduce legislation that would require the City Department of Transportation (DOT) to create and implement a residential parking permit (RPP) system in Northern Manhattan, covering all areas north of 60th Street through Inwood. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Transportation Committee, also introduced legislation to create a citywide RPP.  

Neighborhoods in the northern half of Manhattan increasingly face the crowding and congestion of suburban commuters leaving their cars on local streets in order to transfer to the subway--a problem that would be severely exacerbated should congestion pricing ever be implemented.

The bill, Int. 848-2018, as introduced by Council Members Levine, Rosenthal, Powers, and Ayala  would address this problem by requiring DOT to designate specific areas and neighborhoods where a residential parking permit (RPP) system would be implemented, and to determine the days and times when permit requirements would be in effect. Under the proposed law, DOT would be able to reserve up to 80% parking spaces on designated residential blocks for people who live in the neighborhood, leaving the remaining spots for non-residents. The legislation also specifies that no RRP zone would be implemented on streets zoned for commercial or retail use.

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 an RPP.

In addition to this legislation, the bill’s sponsors are calling for the following protections to be implemented in the rules-making process, including requirements that DOT:

  • Hold public hearings with community boards before implementing RPP in a neighborhood;
  • Ensure permits are only issued to individuals holding a New York State driver's license;
  • Ensure permits are attached to specific license plate numbers; and
  • Limit the number of permits issued to one 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 Mark Levine. “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.

“Residential permit parking is a great step toward a more sensible street policy. 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. I am proud to work with Council Members Levine and Powers on this issue,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal who represents the Upper West Side.

“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, Transportation Alternatives. “Reforming parking policies and making better use of curbside space besides free, unlimited long-term private car storage will disincentivize unnecessary driving and reduce congestion by cutting down on the number of drivers circling for a parking spot, making our streets safer and our city greener.”

“This bill provides an opportunity for neighborhoods in Manhattan to evaluate residential parking permits,” said Council Member Keith Powers who represents parts of the Upper East Side. “As the city continues to debate issues like congestion pricing, this provides surrounding neighborhoods a chance to explore resident parking. Thank you to Council Member Levine for introducing the bill and my colleagues for engaging in a conversation about traffic and parking.”

“Too often, residents of Northern Manhattan find themselves circling their blocks for hours on end to secure parking because of crowding caused by suburban park-and-ride commuters. New York City could mitigate this hassle by joining other major cities around the country and establishing a residential parking permit system that would prioritize our residents first,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, who represents East Harlem.


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