‘Alternate’ reality! Return of parking rules drive snowbound Slopers mad

‘Alternate’ reality! Return of parking rules drive snowbound Slopers mad
Photo by Tom Callan

The streets of Park Slope turned into a disaster zone on Monday morning when alternate-side-of-the-street parking resumed, forcing residents to dig out cars, battle for open spots and, in at least one case, slam into each other.

By 10 am, snow banks and double-parked cars had clogged the streets, making it almost impossible for even the smallest compact to navigate.

“This is the most stupid thing they have ever done!” exclaimed Phyllis Kwalwasser, who lives on First Street near Eighth Avenue. “Trying to get around all the double-parked cars, I thought I was going to have an accident.”

Street cleaning had been suspended since Jan. 27, when a massive snowstorm shut down public schools and dumped 20 more inches on an already icy city. But the weekend’s temperate weather encouraged city officials to bring back normal parking rules.

“We were lucky enough on Saturday and Sunday to have above-freezing temperatures, a perfect time to have people start digging out their cars,” said Sanitation Department spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins.

Yet Park Slope residents were frustrated that they had to dig out for street sweeping, especially when there was not a Sanitation truck in sight.

The only reminder about the promised cleaning was a handwritten, cardboard sign sticking out of a snow bank on Carroll Street by Polhemus Place imploring residents to move their cars so the street could be swept.

But the sign stood in vain.

“I haven’t seen any street sweepers,” said David Holmes, who lives on Carroll Street near Seventh Avenue.

Dawkins said that the city had at least one truck out in Park Slope on Monday morning, although she said she certainly “didn’t expect trucks to get to every curb.”

Many residents refused to move their snow-in cars despite the scheduled cleaning, and many received tickets. The city issued 3,205 summons across the borough, out of a total 9,910 citywide, according to a NYPD spokesman. The figures were not broken down by neighborhood.

And the morning mayhem cost one driver in the most tangible way.

A man sideswiped a nun’s ride on Carroll Street by Polhemus Place, damaging the car’s body.

Sister Francis McCool told police that she was stuck waiting in the long line of unmoving traffic when another car slammed into hers from the right side.

“This has been the worst day. First I had to get someone to dig out my car. Then there was all the traffic, and now this accident. I don’t know what to do, go home and cry?” McCool said.

Perhaps praying to a higher power — Mayor Bloomberg? — would help.

Some residents of Carroll Street near Seventh Avenue in Park Slope were actually looking forward to the return alternate-side-of-the-street parking — but Sanitation trucks never actually removed the snow.
Photo by Tom Callan