Teachers at PS 209 on Avenue Z gave up a parking lot to make room for a new playground — but now they are calling on the city to give them a place to park.
Teachers celebrated a decision to include their K–8 school in a city program that converts parking lots into parks. But that support evaporated after city bureaucrats said they would not give teachers permits to park on Avenue Z, East Seventh Street and Manor Court, three blocks surrounding the school where parking is restricted from 7 am until 4 pm.
As a result, the teachers flocked to the May 19 meeting of the Bensonhurst West End Community Council to raise the specter of teachers being forced to drive around looking for parking.
“I could definitely see having to get to school a full hour early and circling, praying, and hoping that someone pulls out of a spot,” said eighth grade English teacher Marcia Joyce. “There is a huge concern that teachers won’t be able to get to their classes on time.”
Finding parking spots on the residential blocks near the school is difficult and time consuming because most streets require alternate-side parking, said Principal Fran Locurcio.
“[Giving teachers permits] would not disrupt the community because no one parks there right now,” said Locurcio, who is among about 50 school employees who will need to find a new spot when construction begins on the parking lot in the fall.
“All we’re asking for is to use space that isn’t being utilized during the day,” she said.
But the Department of Transportation says it no longer issues parking placards for school employees. Schools that do enjoy such a privilege have had their permits grandfathered into current parking regulations.
“Usually, we keep the area clear during school hours so that buses can come and drop off kids,” said DOT spokesman Craig Chin. “It also stops double-parking. People sometimes double-park and triple-park in front of schools, then kids dart out between the cars and get hit.”