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Park smart, not selfish; man seeks car courtesy

for The Brooklyn Paper
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All you drivers out there are a bunch of selfish, thoughtless jerks — at least that’s what one Fort Greene resident thinks.

Graphic designer Abby Weissman has had enough with the woeful lack of parking spaces in his neighborhood, and has spearheaded a project so inspiring that the borough president recently honked his horn in tribute, calling Weissman a man “on a mission.”

That mission: To create more parking spaces by teaching drivers how to hone that most basic of New York skills — parallel parking.

Weissman said he was moved to act after noticing what happens on street-cleaning days.

“One side of the street is free of cars and when the parking rules end, it’s a blank slate for people to park in,” he said.

But given the opportunity to park freely on these open blocks, people tend to leave large gaps — five feet or more — between cars.

Seeing that, led Weissman to the only conclusion possible: “Our society is moving towards a selfish, ‘I-do-what-I-want’ society.”

So he created a “ParkSmart” poster that encourages drivers to leave no more than three feet of space between cars and 15 feet between their car and fire hydrants (people tend to leave far more than that, he said).

“It’s an attempt to get drivers to realize that parking is limited and we need to work together to free it up for everyone,” said Weissman.

Weissman often sticks his fliers underneath windshields on his block and hopes to make metal signs he can hang in more prominent locations. Block associations that want to help spread the word have approached him about distributed the posters.

Weissman and other residents — speaking anecdotally — said the problem is worse now than ever before. Clearly drivers haven’t lost their ability to measure three feet, so the problem could be the result of new development and city planning.

“Public parking garages are getting closed due to development,” said Fort Greener Joseph Gutleber. “And with the bike line along DeKalb Avenue, there’s four or five blocks less of parking.”

Gutleber even raised the raised the specter of the all-purpose villain: gentrification.

“The people moving in here are more affluent, so they have more vehicles than the old residents,” he said.

Weissman remains cautiously optimistic about ParkSmart, but called on other neighborhoods to take up the cause.

“We’ve taken the initiative over here, but it’s really going to have to be a grassroots movement,” he said.

Updated 5:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

eric prado from no longer New Yorker says:
I had the joy of on-street parking in New York
for too long a time.
There is nothing one can do to stop people parking as they do.
You squeeze into a tight spot. Come back ten minutes later and find the tank parked in front of you has left, probally hitting your bumper, and a samller car not ocuupies the spot. There is a big gap between your car and the new car. It's not anyone's fault.
As for filling up the block after alternate-side-parking, what can you do.
It's the same philosophy of sitting on the subway. You take a spot as far away from everyone else and let the later riders fill in the spaces as the car fills up.
Unless, the city marks off approximate parking
spots for some guidance. people will park as they do.
Good luck New York.
July 17, 2008, 1:01 pm
Amy from Clinton Hill/ Rockaways says:
Wow, I had an mind-blowingly absurd parking experience recently. Now I need affirmation from some normal people out there that I am not imagining what "acceptable behavior" encompasses these days. We were out at Rockaway Park a few weekends ago. Everyone and their dog was there, it was sunny, perfect, etc and therefore, we were all competing for parking spaces. After circling and circling, we found a family who was getting in their car to leave. We pulled over behind them and to the side to wait. Several minutes later, insane, frantic horn honking starts behind us. Were we blocking other cars from passing? We looked. No.. Then a mad woman comes up to our car and begins banging her fist (yes, touching our property) on the driver side window. She's berating us in an incomprehensible combination of foreign languages. What on earth could be her deal? We roll down the window and listen to her litany. She "talked" to the leavers "at the corner". They had "promised" her their space. Therefore, it was hers, not ours. Has anyone heard of this code of conduct??? It didn't matter that we were physically next in line, she had already pre-arranged it all! I am still absolutely dumbfounded that this person thought that was OK. She proceeded to wedge her minivan inbetween us and the people leaving (and actually preventing them from getting out either). There was nothing we could do. But she got the spot. I wouldn't have even parked there at that point anyway for fear of slashed tires. I guess nice guys do park last.....
July 20, 2008, 4:39 pm
Mo from Clinton Hill says:
Doesn't he know that leaving flyers on windshields is outlawed LOL - he'll find out when he gets a sanitation ticket for it.
July 22, 2008, 7:51 pm
paul carpenter from flatbush says:
How about posting a link to download ParkSmart posters?
May 11, 2009, 6:25 pm
James from Flatbush says:
http://southoxford.com/pages/parksmart1.html
July 17, 2009, 8:14 am

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