As New Yorkers quarantine themselves to help stop the spread of coronavirus, more and more parked cars are filling up neighborhood streets. With no end to metered parking in site, southern Brooklyn residents and politicians are calling on the city to suspend the service, and allow for long-term parking on main roads during the statewide stay-at-home order.
“Parking is horrendous around here,” said Mike Kieran of his Bensonhurst neighborhood. “And now that everybody is staying home and more people are calling in sick, it’s getting really bad around here.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio halted alternate-side parking for a week starting March 17 and tacked on another week this Tuesday, stressing that the city will assess the situation on a weekly basis. He has not moved to do the same for parking meters.
“We’re going to look at the situation week-by-week; we might do more extensive time periods depending on what we see,” the mayor said. “But I think the thing to expect right now is we’ll try and deal with alternate side in chunks of time, at least a week at a time.”
Kieran lives off of 18th Avenue, a main road with metered parking and stretches of closed businesses whose designated spots could easily be transitioned into long-term parking.
“The pharmacies and grocery stores are only on certain blocks,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “And [on] the rest of the blocks, you have about a half-mile of closed stores.”
Southern Brooklyn Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and William Colton have also spoken out in support of suspending metered parking, claiming the measure will help keep people indoors.
“Similar to alternate-side parking, which was suspended because we want to encourage people to stay indoors, it makes sense to suspend parking meters so people don’t need to leave their homes or workplaces to feed the meter during such a critical time in our city,” Mallotakis said in a statement.
Colton launched an online petition Thursday calling for the suspension and has garnered nearly 200 signatures as of Friday, where he said the city should not be charging New Yorkers to park their cars at the same time they are being ordered to remain home.
“We are in a crisis, the city should not be worried about making money, peoples’ lives are at stake,” Colton said in a statement. “The severe measures taken, to increase social distancing and to slow the spread of Coronavirus is futile. If people still need to go out to feed meters or to move their cars to find parking spots makes no purpose of the Governor’s executive order.”
Meanwhile, Kieran recommended the city make a change in the parking regulation sooner than later to avoid any potential neighborly disputes.
“The parking situation is going to get really tense,” he said. “I mean right now, we are seeing people fighting over toilet paper.”
The Mayor’s Office and the Department of Transportation did not respond to requests for comment.