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Tish: To fix arena parking mess, locals should pay for spots

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A key opponent to the Atlantic Yards mega-development and arena is now pushing for a parking system that would force locals, many of whom opposed the project in the first place, to pay to park in the neighborhoods around it.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) is calling for residential parking permits near the Barclays Center arena, requiring area residents to buy permits so that they, not thousands of sports and entertainment fans, will get the first crack at spots on the residential streets near the 19,000-seat arena.

The permits would also generate revenue for the city — which makes it doubly controversial.

“It’s highway robbery!” said Patti Hagan, a longtime arena and project opponent who lives nearby on St. Marks Avenue. “How many times are we going to get shellacked for this thing?”

James said the yet-to-be-determined fee associated with a residential parking permit was a necessary evil that would mitigate the space crunch after the arena is completed in mid- to late 2012.

“During discussions about Atlantic Yards, the Bloomberg administration made a commitment that Prospect Heights would be a likely candidate for residential parking permits,” James said. “I’m pushing for it.”

She added that a permit system would not guarantee every resident in Prospect Heights a parking space, but it would give locals parking priority. A system proposed by the mayor in 2008 set aside regular hours when only permitholders can park. Under such a plan, arena-goers could also park on those streets, but the vast majority of spaces would already be occupied by locals with the permits. Such a system would also discourage commuters who drive to residential neighborhoods, park near subway stations, and then continue their trips into the city via trains.

In Chicago, parking permits for residents around Wrigley Field pay $25 annually for “reasonable access to parking” near the fabled ballfield that everyone calls the Friendly Confines.

Having to pay to park by the controversial Atlantic Yards project site is another matter, entirely.

“The city does whatever it damn well pleases!” said Hagan. “People should be allowed to park where they live without having whomever the arena brings in taking their spaces.”

Hagan said that a free residential parking permit would be much more palatable for the neighborhood, but James has pledged that her program would accommodate car owners on fixed incomes, as well as visitors to the neighborhood.

The proposed 16-tower, 6,430-unit, arena, residential and commercial Atlantic Yards project includes 3,670 parking spaces that will be “sufficient to accommodate all of the anticipated demand from the proposed project’s commercial and residential components, as well as a portion of the demand from the proposed arena,” according to the project’s environmental impact statement.

The environmental review also estimates that as many as 2,531 cars, 412 taxis and 80 trucks will come and go from the project site, mainly before and after basketball games.

The last time such a residential parking program was on the radar citywide was in 2008, when Mayor Bloomberg proposed such permits as part of his larger congestion pricing legislation, which bombed at both the local and state level.

Under Bloomberg’s proposal, community boards would define the times and spaces that would require residential permits. The proposal also said that curbside regulations would be limited to very specific times and places.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens) also co-sponsored a bill for residential parking permits last year that was meant to alleviate parking woes, though it bombed along with Bloomberg’s larger congestion pricing plan.

According to a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, any residential parking permit program would require state legislation to be implemented.

But James said that the city’s legal team was examining the possibility of bypassing the need for state legislation by designating the residential parking permit plan as a “pilot program.”

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Reader Feedback

Mike from GP says:
Sounds good to me. Drivers will always whine.
Sept. 29, 2010, 4:07 am
toby says:
Drivers? Hey Mike F-U!
Sept. 29, 2010, 5:23 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Heh-heh. I'm imagining toby's voice in the whiniest voice imaginable.

$25 is nothing. A garage around there is $300 a month. That's what we should be charging for on-street parking.
Sept. 29, 2010, 10:26 am
joey from clinton hills says:
permit parking is great! NY license plates only! I'm tired of seeing so many out of state plates on my street. 1) If you live in NY, your car needs NY plates (it's the law, look it up!); 2) many southern states don't require insurance (or it is not a pre-requisite to registering your car); 3) FL has a law that if you have FL plates on your car, but live somewhere else (like Brooklyn!), if you get into an accident, your FL insurance company doesn't have to cover you...and get this, the NY Courts said that this is OK. UGH!
Sept. 29, 2010, 10:33 am
toby says:
"Heh-heh. I'm imagining toby's voice in the whiniest voice imaginable.

$25 is nothing. A garage around there is $300 a month. That's what we should be charging for on-street parking."

Hey "boof", F-U too.

Build an arena, then put a garage for it. I have enough fees connected with my car. Not everyone has the luxury of walking, biking or taking mass transit to work. Geez, tax my farts too.
Sept. 29, 2010, 10:38 am
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
Leadership Mrs James styles. Someone has to pay. Shamed into dropping a frivolous lawsuit against a hard working self employed man, because she was somehow not responsible for her feet, Our fearless leader "money-making-brain" has come up with a sneek tax in hard eco-times. Well done Mrs James.

PS. May I rent your "money-making-brain" for 1 afternoon? I am raising $$$ for my next feature film. You can have a role, no audition. It's a farce!!!

Send me an invoice for your brain!!! Lol!
Sept. 29, 2010, 2:03 pm
Stacey from Downtown bk says:
Good! Maybe there will be less drivers.
Sept. 29, 2010, 10:58 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Ms. James is "Working Families" - Marxists in nice clothes.

Pay Pay Pay, we know what to do with your money better than you do.

Tax it if you use it, tax it if you don't.

Remember the sales tax at 1% was put on sales for the duration of WW2. Taxs NEVER go away.
Sept. 29, 2010, 11:34 pm
JanetG from Park Slope says:
I'd take it one step further than Joey. If you live in Brooklyn, your car shouldn't be registered at a relative's home elsewhere in the state.
Sept. 30, 2010, 5:36 pm
MBFlynn from Fort Greene says:
I applaud Tish James for bringing this issue forward. Other dense urban neighborhoods have had resident parking systems for some time and NY and Brooklyn residents will have to contend with this eventually. Without some system that privileges residents, there will be even more complaining when people cannot park in their neighborhood due to events at the dreaded arena.
Sept. 30, 2010, 7:49 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
People who register their cars out of state are stealing from their neighbors.
Oct. 5, 2010, 11:07 am
Hammer from Prospect Heights says:
Ummm, excuse me? A multi-billion dollar project being built with public subsidies causes problems for a neighborhood and now the representative for that neighborhood volunteers to pony up money from the people being negatively affected to fix the problem???

That is pretty messed up. What is she thinking???

Parking permits for residents with NYS plates? Fine, good idea. Lots of cities have them. But no way should people who need them because of Ratner's project be charged for them, unless you charge everyone in the city in every neighborhood for parking on the street in front of their own house.

And Or, charging regular folks for problems caused by billionaires isn't Socialism or Marxism. That's unrestrained capitalists purchasing our politicians.
Oct. 7, 2010, 1:53 pm

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