Ridge Republican vows to kill parking permits for Barclays neighbors

Full Council approves ‘pay-to-park’ plan
Looming large: The rising Barclays Center will bring many changes to residential streets around it. Some are calling for locals to be able to buy parking permits.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A controversial plan to sell street parking permits to residents near the Barclays Center arena has already broke down in the pothole of the Republican-controlled state Senate days after the City Council approved the proposal.

“This law is dead on arrival in Albany,” said an Albany source with firsthand knowledge of the GOP leadership’s discussion of the so-called “residential parking permit” proposal, which passed the City Council on Nov. 3.

The main roadblock is state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), who believes that charging for street parking is wrong.

“The idea that someone would have to pay to park in front of their own home is ludicrous,” Golden said before the Council’s vote last week, which was technically a “home rule” resolution authorizing the state legislature to take up the measure. “This is nothing more than another tax on our communities.”

Golden opposition was shared by other legislators in southern Brooklyn, where car ownership is more prevalent, but in Brownstone Brooklyn and in Prospect Heights, where 19,000 Nets fans will soon converge at the Barclays Center and its 1,100 parking spaces, residential parking permits are seen as a solution.

“Right now it’s almost impossible to park” near the under-construction arena, said District Leader Jo Anne Simon (D–Boerum Hill). “We want to make sure our neighborhoods are not overrun [after the arena opens].”

This is what residential parking permits — or a street parking tax sticker, depending on whom you ask — could look like.

Under the proposal — which is being pushed by state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Cobble Hill) — residents would have the option of buying the permits for a yet-to-be determined fee. They wouldn’t be guaranteed a spot, but roughly eight out of every 10 spaces on residential streets near the arena would be reserved for permit holders.

Other neighborhoods would be allowed to opt into the citywide program. Neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope have supported residential parking permits as a shield against commuters from southern Brooklyn and elsewhere who park in their neighborhoods and then take mass transit into Manhattan.

Supporters believe that a permit system will also reduce the long-term impact of traffic congestion around the Atlantic Yards mega-project, which is slated to include 6,430 apartments on a 22-acre site that stretches from Flatbush Avenue to Vanderbilt Avenue.

Similar programs have been adopted in Boston, Washington D.C. and Chicago, where residents around Wrigley Field pay $25 annually for “reasonable access to parking” near the baseball stadium known to fans as the Friendly Confines.

Citing the success of those programs, Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) called a permit plan “the one piece of public policy that can make a difference” on Atlantic Yards traffic.

City transportation officials oppose a citywide permit plan, but have agreed to study the areas around the Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium because of the residential nature of the neighborhoods.

State Sen. Marty Golden — does not like parking permits.
Photo by Tom Callan

Residential parking permits were shelved in 2008 after Mayor Bloomberg’s broader congestion pricing legislation failed in Albany.

Squadron said there’s more support for the measure this time around, thanks to provisions that allow neighborhoods and individuals to opt out of participating. “This is not going to be implemented in neighborhoods that don’t want it,” Squadron said.

Jerry Kassar, Golden’s chief of staff, said it probably won’t be implemented at all because Senate Republicans have indicated that they won’t move the bill without support from Golden or the city’s other GOP senator, Andrew Lanza (R–Staten Island), who also opposes the plan.

“We feel very confident that the senators’ views will be upheld,” said Kassar.

Still, residents who live near the Barclays Center said they would buy into the program — if it’s not too expensive.

“Between $50 and $200 is reasonable,” said Wayne Bailey, a car owner who lives on Pacific Street between Carlton and Sixth avenues. “The arena isn’t even open and parking is already total chaos.”

Pacific Street resident Wayne Bailey, seen with the rising Barclays Center behind him, favors a plan that would let residents buy a street parking permit to help them find spots after the arena is built.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

— with Colin Mixson

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8310.

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