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Bad parkers get passive aggressive notes on Prospect Park West

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A diehard parking vigilante is trying to rid Park Slope of spot-hogging drivers — one homemade “citation” at a time.

A slew of motorists near Prospect Park West discovered two-page notes on their windshields last week, bashing them for disrupting the unspoken code of the street by leaving un-parkable half-spaces in front of and behind their cars.

“Your excessive use of parking space may or may not have been your fault,” the flier declares. “But leaving more space than necessary can deprive another driver of a parking spot.”

The detailed — but totally unofficial — “citations” have prompted strong reactions from neighbors who loathe, love, and are laughing at the Dirty Harry of the parking world.

“It’s a bit over the top, but it’s true that people park very sloppily,” said Park Slope resident Carl Makower.

Other drivers cheered the notes, saying they pinpoint a headache-inducing phenomena they’ve noticed for months.

“Parking is rough,” said Vick Narain, a doorman on Prospect Park West. “During the day, you’re driving around for half an hour or 45 minutes just to look for a space.”

The bold-typed notes come weeks after neighbors complained about a secret spot-saving “parking ring,” in which doormen at posh Prospect Park West buildings allegedly save parking spaces for paying tenants by intentionally taking up a spot and a half — then later inch cars forward to make room for other residents’ vehicles.

The car crusader blames the Prospect Park West bike lane for making parking tighter in the neighborhood, claiming the controversial two-way cycling path snatched up “numerous” spaces. (The city removed 22 spaces to install the 19-block long path).

But some cyclists bashed the fliers, saying they wrongly pin blame on the much-used strip of green paint.

“This person seems to continue the fantasy of ascribing the neighborhood’s problems to the bike path,” said lane supporter Eric McClure. “It’s not true.”

The fliers also declare that “free on-street parking is a precious public resource” — a declaration that some neighbors joked compares parking to drinking water or clean air.

It remains unclear who slipped the leaflets, which were first reported by Streetsblog, under windshield wipers along the roadway.

— with Ben Lockhart

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

boof from brooklyn says:
The problem is not the skill of those parking, nor even their thoughtfulness.

The problem can be found in any Economics 101 class. If you give something valuable away at too low a price, too many people will want to take it.
May 7, 2012, 9:42 am
trans alt from my bike says:
You are right boof, it should cost at least $50 to park on any street overnight in Park Slope, considering what the rest of the real estate is worth.
May 7, 2012, 9:45 am
S from PPW says:
Driving around for half an hour or 45 minutes just to look for a space has clearly driven most motorists in Park Slope insane.
May 7, 2012, 10:03 am
Mr M from Brooklyn says:
The real problem here is too many people owning cars and wanting to be able to park for free on the street. The car-owning note-writer here is as much to blame for the problem as anyone else. The note-writer needs to either get rid of his/her car, pay for off-street parking, or quit whining.
May 7, 2012, 10:04 am
D from Bklyn says:
107 Prospect Park West used to be a single family mansion that was abandoned for years. Then it was sold and carved up into four multi-million-dollar condos. You can bet that anyone buying one will have a car.

The sheer density of Brooklyn and the number of people who own cars is the cause of your parking woes. Twenty-two parking spaces lost two years ago to create a bike lane that serves thousands of people is not the issue, especially when bike lanes enable people to move into the neighborhood and not own a car.

If you want more parking, convince your neighbors to get a bike.
May 7, 2012, 10:18 am
Resident from PPW says:
Maybe the city should be building parking garages to generate revenue?
May 7, 2012, 10:30 am
Neil from Brooklyn says:
The sense of entitlement that some people have is truly shocking. Bicyclists need to learn to share space, respect traffic laws, and accept the fact that they are undeserving of any special treatment.
May 7, 2012, 12:53 pm
Neil from Brooklyn says:
The sense of entitlement that some people have is truly shocking. Bicyclists need to learn to share space, respect traffic laws, and accept the fact that they are undeserving of any special treatment.
May 7, 2012, 12:53 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
30-45 minutes to look for a parking space? Tragic that people don't value their free time properly.

If they thought about how much their time is worth, they'd either drop the car in a garage or find another way of getting around.
May 7, 2012, 1:16 pm
Rooster from Kensington says:
Is it just me, or are these comments partisan, nonsensical, and missing the point?

This all boils down to respecting your neighbors and being aware of your surroundings... whether it be from your car, your bike, or as a pedestrian.

We're all co-existing in an expensive, highly populated, dense city. Not everyone will be happy all of the time; the very least we can do is share.
May 7, 2012, 1:50 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Rooster, we are all co-existing, it's true. It's just that the driving minority is given most of the space. Now why is that?
May 7, 2012, 2:21 pm
ilovebrooklyn from PPW says:
I thought the net loss of parking spaces on PPW was much less than 22 -- more like half a dozen -- because a bunch were recovered when the bus route was removed?
May 7, 2012, 4:49 pm
Kneel from Brooklyn says:
The sense of entitlement that some people have is truly shocking. Drivers need to learn to share space, respect traffic laws, and accept the fact that they are undeserving of any special treatment.
May 7, 2012, 4:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Somebody should give that person a medal for knowing about this as well as Natalie getting the Pulitzer Prize for covering this.
May 7, 2012, 5:09 pm
JOHNNYBOY from WINDSOR TERRACE says:
BE Careful what you wish for, Markowitz may black top Prospect Park to accommodate the Prince and Princess's nuevo Brooklynites, who drive two blocks to buy a quart of milk.
May 7, 2012, 7:20 pm
JOHNNYBOY from WINDSOR TERRACE says:
BE Careful what you wish for, Markowitz may black top Prospect Park to accommodate the Prince and Princess's nuevo Brooklynites, who drive two blocks to buy a quart of milk.
May 7, 2012, 7:21 pm
JOHNNYBOY from WINDSOR TERRACE says:
BE Careful what you wish for, Markowitz may black top Prospect Park to accommodate the Prince and Princess's nuevo Brooklynites, who drive two blocks to buy a quart of milk.
May 7, 2012, 7:21 pm
brooklynbreeder from Park Slope says:
I'm with Rooster. Don't text while riding your bike. Don't park like a schmuck in between two half spots. Don't dart into traffic when you're walking. Be considerate. Have a care for your neighbors. Co-exist. How hard is that?
May 7, 2012, 7:46 pm
sidewinder from South Slope says:

I'm so glad I don't have a car.
I like the bike path.
I walk.
I enjoy it
You should too.
May 7, 2012, 10:50 pm
sidewinder from South Slope says:

I'm so glad I don't have a car.
I like the bike path.
I walk.
I enjoy it
You should too.
May 7, 2012, 10:50 pm
sidewinder from South Slope says:

I'm so glad I don't have a car.
I like the bike path.
I walk.
I enjoy it
You should too.
May 7, 2012, 10:50 pm
sidewinder from South Slope says:

I'm so glad I don't have a car.
I like the bike path.
I walk.
I enjoy it
You should too.
May 7, 2012, 10:50 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Sidewinder.

I'm glad you don't have a car too.
May 7, 2012, 11:26 pm
tony from slope says:
its also that inconsiderate a holes that do have the liberty of parking in their driveways and garages that still consider to park on the street because its closer or just because of pure laziness. I work late nights and get home 3-4 am, there is no way of taking a train that late and then I have to drive around for 45-1 hour to find a legal spot that i don’t have to wake up 2 hours later to move it from a metered spot. Have some consideration!!!!!!!!!!
May 8, 2012, 1:46 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
It is Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY, thinking he is being helpful.
May 8, 2012, 5:23 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
D has the right idea. If drivers want more parking and less traffic they ought to encourage more cycling and dedicated bike lanes, not less. Imagine the drivers of the 10 cars ahead of you at the light vanishing and reappearing on bikes travelling on a path that does not interact with your lane, and you get the idea.
May 8, 2012, 10:29 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Gaps in on-street parking almost always occur because different vehicles have different lengths. Imagine a Ford F150 truck, which is about 20ft long, with two Mini Coopers as bookends. They can start off reasonably parked, but if the F150 leaves it suddenly looks as though the Mini Coopers or the shorter vehicle that takes the F150's space parked like jackasses.

The phenomenon is annoying, but mathematically unavoidable. You might as well shake your fist at the rain clouds or try to hold back the tide with a spoon. Or you could mandate that every block in America have a standard length and every car a standard, shorter length, that evenly divides the length of that block with no remainder.

Yeah, that's not gonna happen either.
May 8, 2012, 10:36 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Bingo, Scott. The "Parking Vigilante" should readjust his tinfoil hat.
May 8, 2012, 11:10 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"I'm glad you don't have a car too."

Exactly. Even drivers are anti-car.
May 8, 2012, 3:05 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
To the anti-car crowd, transit fanatics and bike zealots, us motorists already pay a lot in fees every year and these aren't cheap. I would love to see you pay for these, and that just includes a few such as licensing, registration, inspection, and so many others. I haven't started with repairs, replacing certain parts, gas prices, tolls, and that's just the tip of the iceberg here. Why shouldn't we be allowed to have a spot on the street for free. Many of the residents who have their cars parked on the streets overnight or already paying for the streets through their tax dollars, so in a way, it's already being paid for. I won't argue about those who already have parking spaces within their own property, but unfortunately, if it's not included, they won't use it. Still, if one's property doesn't include parking, then they need a space where they don't have to pay, because the amount for the property is enough as is.
May 8, 2012, 6:30 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
No boof, I it sounds as if sidewinder is too young to drive.
May 8, 2012, 9:18 pm
Shirley from PPW says:
Why does paying for a car's repairs, replacement parts and other fees entitle one to park on the street for free?

Can I store my couch on the street for free? I had it reupholstered, paid sales tax, and once bought a new pillow for it.
May 9, 2012, 10:59 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Shirley,

As soon as you put your Prius in your kitchen, you can put your couch on the street.

But be sure to move it on alternate days.
May 9, 2012, 1:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If any of you have actually paid for the things I have mentioned, you will know what I am talking about.
May 9, 2012, 4:20 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

I own a car. Finding a free spot to store my personal property on public land is something I don't take for granted.
May 9, 2012, 5:15 pm
trans alt from my bike says:
Either get your junk off my street, or pay up big time to store it there. Your choice, polluting drivers.
May 10, 2012, 12:28 am
Clint from Park Slope says:
My wife and I were confronted by a woman at our parked car one night by a middle aged woman. She had just slipped a note on our windshield, accusing us of being inconsiderate by taking up more space than needed when we had parked. After informing her that she was seeing a very different spacing of cars than when we originally parked -- we always park as tight as possible to be considerate -- we called her a Parking Nazi, and she disappeared into the night.
May 10, 2012, 5:38 am
boof from brooklyn says:
LOL Clint. The deranged mind of the parking nazi revealed.
May 10, 2012, 2:18 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Also, I love you trans alt. You always seem to think your comments are outrageous parody, but they're usually just true. Well done!
May 10, 2012, 2:19 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Yellow Hook. Haha. You're anti-car. You want all of them out of your way so you can do whatever you want. Brava.
May 10, 2012, 2:20 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, after what I am paying for, which costs an arm and a leg in most areas, I should deserve a few things for free, and that includes find a free spot on the street.
May 10, 2012, 5:35 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
http://www.amazon.com/The-High-Cost-Free-Parking/dp/1884829988
May 11, 2012, 12:10 pm
DC from PARK SLOP says:
LOL Got to love Parking nazis being nice and curtious does not get you anywhere aither some guy accused me of scraping his bumper meanwhile his car was about a 20 yr old Yuppie Susbaru that seen better days. The trolls are out ing full they just want to rid everywhere of cars Go back to bum —— Iowa
June 25, 2014, 12:21 pm

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