Neighbors: Xaverian must stop taking our parking spots

Ridge residents: Xaverian High School is taking our parking spots
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Residents living around Xaverian High School are banding together to make sure that the Catholic school doesn’t take up any more of their cherished parking spots.

Civic leaders say they are working out a compromise with Xaverian High School, which got city permission to snatch up three public parking spots on 71st Street so it could put in a school bus loading zone. But neighbors have collected more than 200 signatures demanding that the Department of Transportation yank the no-parking signs it just installed.

“Xaverian High School is trying to obtain parking which is for the residents,” said McKay Place resident Agnes Kelly, who started the petition, and now claims that she has to park far from her building and carry her 2-year-old home. “People feel like the school gets away with everything because they have money and we’re nobody.”

Kelly said that she and her neighbors are tinkering with filing a lawsuit against the school to stop gobbling up any more spots — something some residents claim is long overdue.

“Bay Ridge is densely populated, so every spot on the street counts,” said McKay Place resident Bruce Pollack. “But the school is sneaking a change into the community without the community getting a say in it.”

Other residents found it odd that Xaverian would need a bus loading zone in the first place, since the school has plenty of private parking spaces.

“It’s annoying that the school is taking spaces when they’ve got a parking lot,” said Chris Hughes.

The Department of Transportation put in the bus loading zone so students wouldn’t have to cross a section of Shore Road without any traffic signals to get on a school bus. Spokesman Nick Mosquera said his agency will study the effect of its decision through June.

Xaverian President Robert Alesi said the school never asked for the signs and requested a stop light in front of the school.

Alesi says that he, Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), and Community Board 10 district leader Jo Beckmann are hammering out a new plan that will make everyone happy.

“We have committed to work together to find a solution that serves the needs of all,” Alesi said. “Xaverian is sympathetic to the concerns of the residents in our surrounding community regarding the shortage of parking.”

Gentile staffers confirmed that the legislator was working on a solution, but would not reveal any details.

“The models aren’t ready yet, but it’ll show that what the school is really concerned about is safety,” said Gentile spokesman Justin Brannan.