The city’s most exclusive parking spots are coming to Marine Park!
The Parks Department announced its plan to install three handicap-parking spaces near Marine Park’s Carmine Carro Community Center — but only issue 12 permits for the handicapped spots — leaving disabled locals to compete for the highly coveted spaces.
“[The senior center’s] official membership is in the excess of 5,000,” said Carl Fischer, a local senior advocate. “That’s why the whole situation is pretty amazing because that is a really large community. And I would say one in 10 people have disabilities.”
As the green space’s only senior facility, the Carmine Carro Community Center attracts thousands of elders with free classes on fitness and health, art workshops, and other events that enrich the lives of area old-timers.
But the cherished community space — which cost a whopping $16 million and took a decade to build — lacks any onsite parking, and seniors are forced to trudge upwards of 250-feet through rain, sleet, and snow from the nearest public parking space on Fillmore Avenue to reach the senior center, which Fischer says can be rough on some disabled patrons.
“To walk up that hill, especially in bad weather, became very much of a problem,” said Fischer.
Looking to shorten the trip, Fischer authored a petition that attracted around 100 signatures and persuaded the city to pursue a yearlong pilot program to test the feasibility of three handicapped spots, which Parks workers will install at the Carro center’s drop-off area on Feb. 1, according to Parks Department spokeswoman Anessa Hodgson.
Disabled seniors looking to use the new spots will need a pre-existing handicap-parking placard issued through the city’s Department of Transportation, although it’s unclear what criteria the city will use in judging applications.
What’s sure is that competition for the limited-edition parking permits will be fierce, with dozens of seniors angling to nab the covered spots, Fischer said.
The pilot program will go on for a year, after which the Parks Department will decide whether to keep the new parking spaces.