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Clean sweep of parking rules - Residents debate pros & cons of street cleaning shake-up

The Brooklyn Paper
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Community Board 2 residents are confronting the old axiom, ‘be careful what you wish for.’

That after CB 2 board and Transportation Committee members last week debated the city’s plan to reduce street cleaning from twice to once a week in residential areas covering Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene.

The changes affect alternate side of the street parking, where currently vehicle owners must move their cars twice a week from one side of the street to the other while the Department of Sanitation cleans the streets.

If the new measure comes to pass, vehicle owners will only have to move their cars once a week during the street-cleaning hours.

“The request to have the frequency of street cleaning reduced was in response to residents’ desire to not move their cars as often,” said CB 2 District Manger Rob Parris.

The proposed change also comes amid other standing parking issues in the neighborhood including residents’ complaints of vehicle owners taking up valuable parking spots with legal and illegal city parking placards.

It also comes after many local residents lobbied for residential permit parking (RPP) because of the alleged proliferation of residents living in southern Brooklyn neighborhoods that park in these downtown areas and take mass transit to work in Manhattan.

All of the aforementioned issues were addressed in last week’s hearty discourse on the proposed changes.

“I’m opposed to the change. This will become a parking lot for commuters to Manhattan,” said Boerum Hill resident and car owner Sidney Meyer.

Meyer and other residents against the move said cleaning the streets only once a week would make for much dirtier streets, and with many holidays it could mean there won’t be street cleaning for several weeks.

Several residents including Meyer, Nancy Wolf and Leslie Lewis also stated that without RPP in place, the change would be a disaster in finding parking as people would hold onto their spaces for a week at a time.

On the other side, Concord Village resident Jon Quint, who parks in a garage, said he favors the plan.

“You have to put up with alternate side of the street parking. That’s the price of living in the city,” said Quint. “If experts say they can do [clean streets once a week] then we should listen.”

Boerum Hill resident Bill Harris also favored the plan.

“It saves all of that stress of pointless rushing around the neighborhood to find parking spots twice a week to once a week. It’s better for the environment and saves everybody money by reducing the city budget and keeps costs down because of lesser service,” said Harris.

“It’s a question of a benefit to the few to keep the program as it is now at the at the expense of the many,” he added.

City Councilmember Letitia James also supported the change, noting in a written statement that parking has been an issue that has continued to grow in the Downtown Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods.

“Some days, in fact, it seems that my office receives more calls about parking tickets and towing than for any other single issue,” said James.

“Reducing the frequency from two times per side of the street to one time per side of the street has been a dream of downtown residents for longer than I can remember, and something I have been personally advocating for my constituents, based on their frequent pleas for relief,” she added.

After the discussion the CB 2 Transportation Committee recommended to reject the DOS proposal by a 6-3 with abstention vote.

The full board will vote on the proposal at their Oct. 7 meeting.

DOS spokesperson Kathy Dawkins said the agency has yet to determine if and when the plan will go in place.

“This is a plan we are offering the community board, and we are waiting for them to give us the okay before we move forward with the plan,” Dawkins said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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