Sweeping Changes to Alternate Side Parking in NYC?

Thursday, November 04, 2010 - 04:38 PM

(Flickr; Jon Sobel)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) A New York City council member wants to legitimize a de-facto parking practice that has been going on for decades: ending alternate side parking restrictions as soon as a street is cleaned not when the time period on the sign (see example above) ends. This would let city parkers leave their cars unguarded hours earlier without fear of being ticketed.

I see it on my block every day (well, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday): drivers double park, leaving the side of the street scheduled to be cleaned empty. Some wait in their cars, some leave notes on their windshields with their cell numbers and go about their business. But one thing is certain: when the sweeper truck passes by, drivers immediately jump in their cars and then park back on the other side of the street. (And many of them sit in their cars to run out the clock while keeping their engines idling, presumably to run heat or a/c.)

City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (10th District; Democrat) refers to this in a press release as an "ALTERNATE SIDE DISASTER."

Speaking at a press conference, Rodriguez, who represents Northern Manhattan, said the point of his legislation is not to make driving more attractive. Rather it is a much-needed "parking reform" designed to make life easier for people who already own a car.

New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez unveils his legislation

“The current state of parking enforcement violates the original intention of alternate side parking – it is for the purposes of street cleaning, not raising revenue or making it more difficult to have cars in the city. The current inflexible and insensible state of alternate side parking regulations are causing undue hardship for working and middle class families who need to juggle competing priorities of family, work, and other responsibilities – none of which should have to include circling the blocks for three hours twice a week waiting for their parking spot to be open again.”

The parking space scramble has its victims: last year, a little girl was seriously injured on the Upper East Side after a Ford Bronco drove backwards down the street in search of a parking space.

Rodriguez's bill is sure to delight city drivers, many of whom probably already love him: a former taxi driver himself, he helped squash a plan to place tolls on bridges in Northern Manhattan. And earlier this year he accused the NYPD of harassment for ticketing drivers who block intersections in his district.

One question that has come up is the issue of enforcement. NY1 reports that "The Sanitation Department is reviewing the bill, but a spokesman says the proposal brings logistical issues, namely that parking agents have no way of knowing if a cleaning crew has come through when they arrive on a block during the designated alternate-side time."

The bill currently has 16 co-sponsors. The City Council's Transportation Committee will debate it on Tuesday, November 9th at 10am.


Comments [4]

mike g

I live in the west 60s which has become a personal parking lot forABC-TV employees. Not only do they monopolize hundreds of spaces but also reserve spaces by placing obstructions for themselves and their colleagues Many of these commuters come from CT or NJ and pay little or no taxes. Why don't we have a system that gives priority to tax paying residents of the neighborhood in which they wish to park?. This system is used in London and it works well.

Feb. 15 2011 05:46 PM
Brooklyn Resident

The only practical way to improve alternate side parking is to reduce the time from 90 minutes in most places, to 30 minutes. There is no reason to have to leave an entire area open for 90 minutes. Why can't the department of Sanitation schedule areas to clean in 30 minute intervals? This should be plenty of time for them to clean an area. Rather then have an entire neighborhood set fo be clear for 90 minutes, let them break the neighborhood down into 3-6 parts in which case they would easily be able to cut the time any street would need to be left empty to just 15-30 minutes! There is no reason sceduling can not be done in this way. It is also the only practical way to enforce the adjusted law and make it fair for everyone and still allow the city to properly clean the streets.

Nov. 09 2010 05:32 PM
Jon Sobel

I'm pleased my Flickr photo came in handy! I'm one of those alternate-side slaves. The ridiculousness of having to sit in your car for the remainder of the 90 minutes AFTER the sweeper has gone by should be patently obvious, and there's got to be a way given all the new technology to inform the cops which streets have already been swept. It's especially stupid in winter when you have to idle your engine to keep the heat on.

Nov. 05 2010 11:19 AM
Eric McClure

"The parking space scramble has its victims: last year, a little girl was seriously injured on the Upper East Side after a Ford Bronco drove backwards down the street in search of a parking space."

How can you possibly attribute that to alternate-side parking rules? Sounds like an irresponsible driver.

Furthermore, as the Sanitation Dept. correctly points out, this legislation would render the situation unenforceable. Is it really too much to ask people to move their cars for 90 minutes a week in return for year-round free parking?

Nov. 05 2010 10:12 AM

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