NEW YORK — The New York City Council was introducing two new bills on Wednesday afternoon to require a permit to park in upper Manhattan. People living in the area have complained that they’re losing spaces to drivers who don’t live in the city, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
Councilman Mark Levine says this is about residents taking back their neighborhood streets, but not everyone’s on board. The legislation would help ease parking problems for locals, but out-of-towners would be out of luck. The bills would give the city Department of Transportation authority to create a residential parking permit system.
Up to 80 percent of what is currently free, curbside parking, would be reserved for drivers who actually live in that neighborhood, like in Washington Heights, where Grymes reported from on Wednesday. “I think it’s a great idea because I am a resident here and it’s, ya know, hard sometimes to find parking,” resident Melissa Reynolds said.
“I don’t think they should do that,” said Lenhurt Leslie of Yonkers. “A lot of people don’t make a lot of money, so maybe they cannot afford to pay for the lot. So they depend on street parking.” “It’s already hard to find parking right now, so I feel like maybe that’ll benefit (the people who live in the area),” Washington Heights resident Jonathan Frias added.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez’s bill would cover the entire city. Councilman Levine’s bill would only cover north of 60th street in Manhattan. He said locals should not have to fight suburban drivers for parking. “Congestion has reached crisis levels in Manhattan and it’s partly fed by thousands of people who are driving in every day in their private cars and dumping them on our local streets to hop on the subway instead of taking mass transit,” Levine said.
Levine said the DOT would have the discretion to work out the permit details, but enforcement likely would only take place during the morning rush. In addition, there would be a permit fee — perhaps $25 per year. Metered and commercial parking would not be affected.
“I heard about it. I think that’s very unfair,” said Maribel Valdivieso of the Bronx. Valdivieso said she drives to Washington Heights for work, adding she gets there an hour early just to find street parking. “I guess we’re gonna have to pay for the parking, which is $300 a month to come to work,” Valdivieso said.
Councilman Levine said he is working to find common ground with the Rodriguez bill. If it does become law in the city, a spokesperson for the state Assembly said the state would also have to give its stamp of approval.