City nixes on-street parking permit plan

Full Council approves ‘pay-to-park’ plan
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The city is putting the brakes on a parking plan that would give neighbors of the soon-to-open Barclays Center an edge over car-driving hoops fans heading to the arena for games and concerts.

The Department of Transportation rejected a proposal to sell residential parking permits near the new arena, saying the stadium’s great public transit access and the abundance of available on-street parking mean there are enough spots to go around — and there would be little support for a pay-for-permit plan that doesn’t guarantee anyone a space.

City officials counted 9,395 on-street parking spaces in communities surrounding the 18,200-seat stadium, and at any given time, about one quarter of those spots are unused, the agency notes in a new report. If Nets fans drive to games at the same rate as Yankees fans, most will park in garages or off-street lots with fans taking up only 215 on-street parking spaces, transportation honchos say.

And Brooklynites likely wouldn’t get excited about a service that costs money but does little to promise them spaces in front of their homes, according to the report.

“[A parking permit] would be little more than a ‘hunting license,’ continuing to allow residents to compete with one another for parking but without guaranteeing availability,” the study notes. “[M]any residents are likely to question why they should be required to register their vehicles, obtain permits, and pay at least $50 a year with no guarantee that their ability to find parking would improve.”

The proposal would also reduce “economic and social vitality” of arena-side neighborhoods by barring visitors from other areas from parking at all times — and the sale of permits likely wouldn’t cover the cost of the program itself, the city says.

But residents of Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Fort Greene say the city overlooked one important factor — the permits wouldn’t just give Brownstone Brooklynites a chance at finding parking near their homes on event nights, they’d also send a message to arena-goers that they shouldn’t drive to the stadium in the first place.

“They missed the point,” said Prospect Heights resident Gib Veconi.

The decision, which was first reported by the blog Atlantic Yards Report, comes after arena developer Forrest City Ratner released a long-awaited traffic plan showing the stadium will get roughly twice as much railway service but half as many on-site parking spots — just 541 on-site spaces — as previously planned when it opens in September.

The Department of Transportation report says the Barclays Center is using incentives to “promote the use of mass transit” and “encourage fans to pre-pay for parking in off-street garages.”

The report also indicates the agency will consider the parking proposal again after Barclays Center opens.

The city’s decision frustrates some politicians who say the permits are needed as a preventative measure.

“[The city] does not feel it’s needed to protect our community — I disagree,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene).

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.