Residential Parking Permits are one step closer to coming to Brooklyn and across the city after a city council committee voted 6-1 to move legislation on the topic to the full council for a vote.
The plan, which needs to be approved in Albany, would allow the city council along with community boards and the Department of Transportation to implement permits in neighborhoods that request them.
About a hundred people crowded into a city council hearing room yesterday morning to have their say on the issue.
Most speakers were for the permits, saying they are badly needed, not only by residents bracing for the flood of cars expected to arrive when the , but also by the area surrounding Yankee stadium, where fans routinely park on sidewalks and in front of hydrants, as well as neighborhoods across the city that commuters drive to in order to park and catch the train.
“I have to get up early in the morning—6 a.m. to find a parking space before the onslaught comes,” said Theresa Fisher of Fort Greene.
“Sometimes I get home from work and I have to wait two hours to get a parking spot,” said a woman from Prospect Heights who lives on Dean Street a block from the construction. “This is going to get worse and worse. There’s going to be noise, air pollution. I have 21-month-old twins. This is going to be ridiculous.”
But others said parking permits would be just another tax instituted by the city, that the “park and ride” problem would just move to the next neighborhood over, and that permits would make it difficult for people to drive to visit friends or run errands in other parts of their borough.
"This is the wrong way to go” said Councilman Lewis Fidler of Sheepshead Bay who cast the dissenting vote. “New Yorkers will have a new fee to pay everywhere in every part of this city.”
“I’m afraid of this slippery slope,” agreed Kim Brandon of Prospect Heights. I know we need to do something … I just think that the long-term residents and seniors that still own property in that community are so heavily taxed.”
The legislation is sponsored by State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman, who represent neighborhoods around Atlantic Yards as well as downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights, where commuters routinely park.
Councilwoman Letitia James, who represents Prospect Heights, Fort Greene and Bed-Stuy, said despite the arena's location on top of a transit hub, an estimated 5,600 cars will be driven to an average event, and, with only an 1,100-spot surface lot planned, most of those cars will troll the neighborhood looking for parking, not only taking up sports, but creating traffic and air pollution problems as well.
“We want to make sure that we are not completely overrun, that our children are not killed trying to cross the street and that we can breathe,” said community activist Jo Anne Simon, who lives in Boerum Hill.
Councilman Brad Lander who represents Park Slope and Cobble Hill said the city can all they want, but such measures won't help.
“It isn’t going to make an iota difference. The only thing that will be effective is a residential parking program on game night,” he said.
The Bloomberg administration opposes the current legislation, with David Woloch a deputy commissioner at the Department of Transportation arguing at the hearing that the plan would be costly to enforce and would inconvenience people who visit friends or work in residential neighborhoods as well as residents who use rental or zip cars.
He also said the permits wouldn’t guarantee that residents would find parking, an argument that failed to phase proponents of the plan.
“My neighbors are … not even thinking that this will guarantee them a parking spot,” responded Howard Kolins, President of the Boerum Hill Association. “It will hopefully limit the cross traffic in the neighborhood. We look at residential parking permits as one more arrow in the quiver that might mitigate some of those things.”
The City Council and Department of Transportation would work out the details of the plan, including the price, which Squadron told CBSNews.com would be similar to other cities, which charge between $20 and $100 per year.
Not all of the spots in neighborhoods that adopt the permits would be held for residents—20 percent of the spaces would be open to nonresidents for short-term parking and commercial strips would not be affected at all. Business owners who live elsewhere would not be eligible for the permits.
Revenues from the permits would be given to New York City Transit to improve subway and bus service. Money from fines would go to the New York City general fund.
The full City Council is expected to vote on the permits this afternoon. After that, Squadron and Millman's bill will be considered in Albany. If passed, the City Council and Department of Transportation would determine how to implement the permits.
But all these steps take time. Time, that residents living near Atlantic Yards say they don't have.
"Only 10 months remain before the planned opening of Barclays Center," said Gib Veconi treasurer of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. "Time is running short."