City Council Hard at Work on Pro-Parking Bills

14_Baez_Maria.jpgMaria Baez wants all teachers to hit the road.
Transit-riding New Yorkers, take heart. In these tough times, your City Council members are at this moment pushing a slew of bills that will make your lives easier. All you have to do is trade your MetroCard for a set of car keys.

In December and January, reports Gotham Gazette, no fewer than four bills surfaced that would facilitate parking in some way, whether or not it's actually legal.

Streetsblog has already written about the most egregious of these: Simcha Felder's on-street "grace period" proposal, which would effectively abolish time limits set by parking meters. But Maria Baez has slipped in a bill that could, if adopted, be more damaging. Baez, who represents District 14 in the Bronx (where three-quarters of households are car-free), wants the city to issue a parking permit to every New York City public school teacher. Not only would Intro 894 be disastrous in its own right, as Cap'n Transit points out, the net effect could be even worse.

If her bill passes, it's likely that the police, firemen and every other category of government employee will want their entitlements entrenched in law.

The Baez bill, of course, comes as the city has cut down on parking permits in order to reduce driving by government employees. Last year about 52,000 teachers had their permits rescinded, leaving some 11,000 with free on-street parking privileges, in addition to those who use 15,000 designated off-street spots.

Other parking-friendly proposals now in the hopper include Intro 897, from Daniel Garodnick, which would allow drivers who don't make their muni-meter receipts visible to challenge tickets by producing them later. A somewhat more encouraging bill is Intro 901, from John Liu, to order parking garages to set aside spaces for car-sharing programs like Zip Car. Great, Councilman Liu, but where's the bike parking mandate?

It's interesting to note common co-sponsor names on these bills. The "outer-borough" usuals like David Weprin aside, one stood out: Alan Gerson, representing traffic-choked Lower Manhattan, has signed on to Intros 894, 897 and 901.