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Tax Ratner for parking — not us!

for The Brooklyn Paper
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To residential parking permit — or not? That is the latest taxing question to confound Prospect Heights and Fort Greene residents since City Councilwoman Letitia James’s recent announcement that she intends to reheat Bloomberg’s residential parking permit leftovers — an indigestible portion of the mayor’s failed 2008 Congestion Pricing Plan.

Why here? Why now? Because Bruce Ratner’s NBA-Russo arena aims to attract some 19,000 people some 300 nights a year to the always impassable intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues. Taxpaying residents would have to pay yet another new tax — for the privilege of parking in their own hood? Why not keep outsider’s cars out instead? Or tax them?

A residential parking permit tax seems unfair. Ratner is already causing major traffic problems for the car-driving citizenry, having this year deprived Brooklyn of: one lane and sidewalk of Flatbush Avenue, one lane and sidewalk of Atlantic Avenue, one block of Fifth Avenue (R.I.P.), one Carlton Avenue Bridge, and two blocks of Pacific Street — streets where parking and pedestrianism have been forever free.

Ratner should be the one paying the penalty for encouraging car-dependant hordes to drive to his arena. He should be penalized for not persuading them to take advantage of one of New York City’s major mass transit hubs.

If a millionaire over-developer can just be given public streets, Ratner should be taxed for withdrawing those priceless streets from the grid. He should also be penalized for destroying historic buildings such as the magnificent Ward Bread Bakery, thereby blighting historic Prospect Heights for decades with acres of parking lots. The city should tax Ratner — say 20 percent of his take — so that the people of Prospect Heights, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill can continue to park on their neighborhood streets for free.

It is 22 years since Wayne Barrett and Jack Newfield wrote “The Big Apple: City for Sale,” but the sale continues apace. Sell the streets? Sell the bridges? Sell the 55,000 parking meters? Sell the residential parking? Enough already!

Patti Hagan is a 31-year resident of Prospect Heights.

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Reader Feedback

Ron from Fort-Greene says:
While I agree that forcing the people who live in the neighborhood to pay an additional tax for parking rights is unfair, it seems that a residential parking pass would be one of the better ways to make sure residents have priority access to street parking once the arena opens up. Of course, you'd think the city would make enough in taxes - from fines on illegal parking and off Ratner himself, at the very least - to make the permits free. Or at least deductible. Has that option ever been proposed?
Oct. 8, 2010, 7:40 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
to me, Patti sounds like someone who is driving around Brooklyn with out of state plates on her car and she is trying to preserve her unlawful status. Sadly, NYC doesn't issue tickets for idling cars and it doesn't give tickets for residents parking cars with out of state plates even though both are unlawful.
Oct. 8, 2010, 10:57 am
Todd Shaffer from Williamsburg says:
Joey, she's lived in Prospect Heights for 31 years. Read.
Oct. 8, 2010, 11:55 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
@Todd, I suggest you read and comprehend!

Just because she's lived in PH for 31 years doesn't mean she has NY plates...plenty of folks on my street claim to have lived in Brooklyn for decades yet their cars have plates from PA, SC, AL, GA, FL, etc.
Oct. 8, 2010, 11:59 am
Mike from Ft Greene says:
Why do you feel that you're entitled to store your personal property on public streets at public expense. Private use of public property has to be paid for. All parking should be paid.
Oct. 8, 2010, 1:19 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
@Mike
It's not being entitled, it's called paying taxes which we as residents do already, I assume you do as well? Then you have the right to park your car (if you have one) on the street, this is an additional tax on top of what we already pay.
Oct. 8, 2010, 9:06 pm
Jonathan from Park Slope says:
Although I agree with Patti's position on Atlantic Yards, her argument against residential parking permits makes no sense. How would her proposal to tax the developer help those of us who can no longer park in our own neighborhood? We need these permits now, and we will need them even more in the future.

Dave, we pay taxes to support shared benefits, it has nothing to do with a specific (non-existent) right to park your car anywhere you want on a public street. This benefit is managed with parking rules and regulations. Yes, a residential parking permit would be one more regulation, but given the increasing challenges to our streets, a much needed one.
Oct. 10, 2010, 2:01 pm
The Dude from Downtown says:
Mr. Ratner draws a lot of water in this town. You don't draw sh-t, Hagan.

Why else would the MTA sell 22 acres of 'downtown' real estate to Ratner for half their own assessed value? Or why did the City's Independent Budget Office find that Ratner will get $792 million in federal, state, and city subsidies? Or that the city will actually lose revenue on the project through the year 2039? Tell me, why would the Borough President offer to fly to China to sell U.S. citizenship like some floozy gold-digger?

Ratner buys politicians like you buy eggs, by the dozen and before breakfast. Quit being naive. Your job as a citizen of New York is to shut your yapper and keep returning 90 percent plus of incumbents to office. The gravy train only goes one way...not your way.

Ratner has another 25 years to finish the parking lot for the arena. You push hard enough and not only will he keep your precious lanes of traffic, he'll bounce quarters into a cup for ten years before he paves over your house and calls it emergency overflow parking.

Oct. 11, 2010, 12:47 pm
Mike from Ft Greene says:
Dave, that's ridiculous. Paying taxes doesn't give you the right to store whatever you want on the street. I'm not legally allowed to cordon off the parking spot in front of my house and use it as a place to hold a picnic, or a place to store my bicycles, even though I pay just as much in taxes as you do. So why should car owners -- a minority of the community -- have exclusive rights to that public space, without paying for it?
Oct. 12, 2010, 11:08 am
jay from pslope says:
Dave, as opposed to giving it to Ratner, and then paying him on top of it with tax dollars? You like that version better?
Oct. 13, 2010, 1:07 am

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