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.
©2008 Community News Group
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