City Council Passes “Home Rule Message” on Residential Parking Permits

The City Council today passed a “home rule message” asking the State Legislature to pass enabling legislation allowing the City to issue residential parking permits. In an earlier post, which has now been corrected, I had incorrectly reported that it passed the Council yesterday; it had just passed the Committee on State and Federal Legislation. Now that it has passed the full Council, it will go to Albany, which, if Senator Marty Golden has his way (see post linked immediately above), will live up to its name as “the place where good ideas go to die.”

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  • stuart

    at last! we get to pay for the privilege of parking on our own block.
    We don’t pay nearly enough taxes or fees and it is high time that the government tell us who can and can’t park in certain neighborhoods. Brilliant.

  • Teddy

    Less congestion/pollution sounds brilliant to me.


    Why do the electeds pursue this will-o-the-wisp, bound to die measure, while ignoring the daily curse of the placard problem? Every day on our streets, Monroe Place, Pierrepont, Remsen, you name it, “Federal Office” and NYPD and NYState Court placarded cars use our precious curb spaces for their commuting convenience.
    No Parking rules are daily ignored. Delivery trucks are blocked. Tradesmen…plumbers,electricians and others …are prevented from accessing our houses or must bring a “truck sitter” along . Emergency vehicles are hindered. Traffic is slowed down.
    These serious unnecessary and costly inconveniences, as well health and safety problems we experience every day pf the week. Instead of addressing this real problem, we get false promises based on shaky evidence that what we really need are permits for our own parking.
    Apparently, the fix is in, the authorities rule, favors are taken care of and no one tackles this flagrant cancer on our curbs.

  • ronrem

    So true…talk about flagrant abuse of power. Those place cards are predominantly perks. “Official Business “ foot!

  • WillowtownCop

    In the past 30 years I’ve lived in 3 different states both close and far from city centers and never had a car. We live at the intersection of pretty much every train and bus in Brooklyn, within walking distance of downtown Manhattan, and a phone call away from a taxi or access a ride. You don’t “need” a car just because you have a long commute or because you’re too paranoid to take your precious children on the subway.

  • Eddyenergizer

    Back in 1960 my mom, needing a place to live, found this neighborhood by looking at a subway map. Indeed this is the best place to not own a car. However, some of us do need a car for work (not just in the context of commuting) or have second homes outside the city. Whatever the reason, owning a car in NYC is not “cheap or easy” as some seem to think, it is in fact an expensive headache. Therefor, anyone who does own one here probably has a good reason.

    As for the placards, there was some recent talk from city hall about “cracking down” on abuse, but I have yet to see any change. Court officers, why on earth do they need special parking privileges?

  • Reggie

    In actuality, court officers receive no special parking privledges. If you look at their placards, you will see they are issued by their union, not DOT or NYPD. Despite having no legal power, the placards are honored by their brother officers.

  • yoohoo

    Martin, you are so right! The real problem is the special permit parkers and their abuse of power. Not only do they park in no parking and no stopping zones and at hydrants, they also park on sidewalks (the latter location includes Middagh Street where firemen-owned private vehicles take up the sidewalk).

    One partial solution has been the change from twice-a-week sanitation service to once-a-week service, which has allowed residents to leave their cars in place and denies placard users to hog the spaces for several days.

  • Quinn Raymond

    Car-owners are very much the minority in our community but tend to dominate the dialogue when it comes to the political process. The 52nd AD, which includes Brooklyn Heights but also several considerably more car-centric areas, has only a 41% car ownership rate (per US Census data).

    It would be nice if more people who are concerned with pedestrian safety and mass-transit got in involved in the process– otherwise the congestion and traffic issues that plague our neighborhood will only get worse.

  • Quinn Raymond

    And yes, the permit situation is crazy. We need to gather block-by-block data on the permit abusers and pressure the NYPD to enforce the law.

  • Western Brooklyn

    People paying to park their cars in their own neighborhoods is really yet another hidden tax to be foisted on working people & the middle class!

  • Quinn Raymond

    You’re already paying for parking in your own neighborhood– with both meters and also the excessive time it takes you to find and keep a spot.

    If you charged by the hour for all the time you’ve spent looking for parking in your lifetime, how much money would you have by now?

  • Gerry

    A woman who lives in Brooklyn Heights got into big trouble by abusing a NYC Handicapped Parking Placard she was reported by a neighbor who knew she was using an expired permit that was issued to her son for a high school sports injury which is NOT what these permits are to be used for.

    And Mayor Bloomberg yanked ALL of the NYC Police Surgeons Placards after he learned that a politican had given out way too many due to political partronage so many had been abused.

    And so report abuse that you see call 311 and demand action follow through the placard abuser will be prosecuted — the Brooklyn Heights woman had to pay a large fine and was ordered to do a ton of community service hours working with a human service agency that serves disabled people.


  • Y

    @ Willowtown: I appreciate the fact that you think it’s ok for me to accept an over 2 hour one way commute for a 20 mile distance using subway, commuter train and buses. The latter only runs at specific times which means if you miss some connection you got to find another alternative to get there.

    BH is the place I call home. Maybe some of your “brothers” should at least pay an 18% tax on the typical monthly parking fee that the garages around here charge.

    It’s always amazing how the once that enforce the law are the ones that break it to their own benefit. I am generalizing exactly like you do.

  • stuart

    In Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights owning a car is seen as a moral failing by some. It is kind of quaint.

  • Quinn Raymond

    As Y convincingly states, different people have different transportation needs.

    However there is certainly a virtue to reducing traffic in our neighborhood, yes? Or would you prefer all of us non-drivers to get cars and compete with you for your already finite parking spots?

    Imagine if we all drove…

  • resident

    I don’t really have any sympathy for drivers who suddenly have to pay for what was once “free.” The public has subsidized drivers for years. In an area served very well by mass transit, despite the every day complaints, drivers shouldn’t get a free use of public transportation assets, especially when driving is such an inefficient use of those assets.

    That’s not to begrudge anyone that chooses to own a car. It’s not a “moral failure,” and stuart, I can’t think of anyone who thinks it is, rather most people just see it as an expensive inconvenience. I can see several reasons why someone would want to keep a car (frequent travel out of town for the weekends, reverse commuting, any other special needs not adequately served by mass transit).

    Really this is no big deal. I’d be shocked if parking permits were all that expensive, and if it makes alternate side parking much easier, the cost will be more than made up for in saved time and less parking tickets.

  • markNheights

    Having lived in the Heights for 15 years, I have had to own a car for the last 6, and it is definitely an expensive hassle, but necessary for
    my current job. I am all for residential parking permits. I don’t see how paying a small fee (the amounts mentioned are seriously small in context to what we already dish out). I don’t mind competing with my neighbors for spots, but I do mind: the neighbors who register their cars out of state (including someone in my building who has lived here for 40 years but who’s car is registered in NJ!), the commuters who drive in from other areas and use the great Heights subways, and nobody has even mentioned how crazy it will be once the additional entrances to the BB park are completed. (as an example, any time there has been a Thurs movie night, I’ve had to park in a lot as there is absolutely no parking until the movie lets out). Drivers in many other areas including Hoboken have used these RPP’s for years and don’t seem to mind…

  • BH’er

    Western Brooklyn – parking is an expense car owners should have to bear and so is paying for the cost of the roads they drive on!

    If you live in CT, you drive to a Park’N’Ride, pay to park your car, get on the train and get to work.

    Our neighborhood should not be a free park’n’ride for people to do the same – under the guise of being on-street. Car owners should have to pay for the services they consume.

    And free-market forces should keep it balanced – permits should be priced, not charged a nominal fee.

    New rules are also required to register in-state vehicles. These drivers are cheating the system, not to mention committing fraud, and pushing their expense on others!

    Ante up!

    If you need a car, there’s a cost. If you can’t afford it here, market forces indicate that you may need to move elsewhere, find a way to manage without a car or give up something else to have your car.

    That’s how life works!

  • stuart

    This is shaping up to be a classic battle between the haves and have nots -cars that is.

  • stuart

    Hey, relax BH’er, you’re not breaking a huge scoop telling us that owning a car is expensive. It is expensive anywhere but particularly in the city.
    Nonetheless, I love my car. Love it. I enjoy riding it, I enjoy the freedom it gives me. I enjoy listening to my ipod on its music system. I enjoy its voice command for music and phone, I enjoy its built-in GPS that tells me very firmly “turn right here”. and nothing anyone says or does will make me love it any less. So go suck a lemon.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I’m not sure “go suck a lemon” is the most convincing argument. And while you may enjoy the inside of your car, I can assure you the rest of us do not enjoy the traffic, noise, pollution, and space your 2 tons of joy takes up.

    I’ve been thinking about this issue some more, and perhaps instead of charging a high fee for the permits we could just allow local drivers to sign up for an annual lottery with a finite number of permits.

    Just as we limit the size of buildings in our community, we ought to limit the number of cars. There is only so much space here.

  • WillowtownCop

    I wasn’t suggesting that no one own a car. I was just pointing out that it’s a luxury, not a necessity. If you chose to live two hours away from where you work, or you need the car for your business, or otherwise think it’s worth the enormous headache and expense, you shouldn’t expect a free spot in any neighborhood in NYC. You should have to pay for a spot in a garage or an expensive permit. The city has a valuable commodity and they’re wasting it by giving it away free.

    As far as the NYPD permits go, the “Official City Business” permits are the permits for unmarked cars assigned to commands, not to individuals. They are city owned cars on city business. They’re here for court – hundreds of cops and detectives are notified to come to court every day, and bring cars because the lab is in Queens, the Property Clerk’s Offices are all over the city, Gold St., Red Hook, Chinatown, etc. where you have to go twice to pick up and drop off the evidence for the case you’re there on. Anyone with a prisoner (also hundreds every day) has to take a car, unless you want to see a chain of prisoners the next time you get on the train with your family. Instead of blaming the cops who are required to drive the cars to a neighborhood where there is no parking anyway, why not blame the city for not building a garage for its own cars like it should? And isn’t it better that they take up illegal spots that you couldn’t park in anyway?

  • WillowtownCop

    The city should actually take the money they earn from the sale of permits and use it to build a garage for it’s own cars.

  • Arch Stanton

    QR “perhaps instead of charging a high fee for the permits we could just allow local drivers to sign up for an annual lottery with a finite number of permits” That is one of the most idiotic ideas I have ever heard. What, one year I can park my car next year maybe not? Thank Ford you are not legislating this issue.

    The streets are for cars, trucks and bicycles the sidewalks are for pedestrians. There is plenty of room for vehicles to move about the streets and park there as well, there is plenty of room for you to walk on the sidewalk. cars park curbside they are not draining city resources by doing so. Car owners are not being “subsidized” by the city. Actually, tolls collected at the MTA bridges and tunnels help subsidize mass transit. Cars get to park on residential streets for free or if they enact this into law, a nominal fee. Thats the way it is, If you don’t like it move.

  • Western Brooklyn


    Don’t drivers already pay for parking & the roads they drive on with car registration fees, license fees, tolls, gasoline taxes, other taxes, etc.???

    Why not also tax the water we drink & air we breathe?

  • epc

    Most of the funds for streets and highway maintenance come from the general fund (sales tax, income tax + misc other taxes). Licensing & registration fees are a rounding error in the total cost of local street maintenance. The Federal Gas tax takes in only $0.40 for every dollar spent from the so-called Federal Highway Trust Fund. Even if you eliminate the non-highway uses of the FHTF, drivers still get subsidized by all taxpayers out of non-vehicle revenue.

    Be careful when arguing that your tax dollars entitle you to a parking spot, the same argument can (and should) be used to argue for much better funding for mass transit.

    As far as draining city resources goes, congestion across the city “costs” the local economy $2 billion / year (that was a couple of years ago). That’s $2billion that could better go for jobs or services or raises or something other than taking up 160 square feet for days at a time.

  • epc

    Put another way: if drivers were required to truly pay for the true cost of maintaining the roads they drive on, there’d be a lot less cars on the road (and your amazon delivery would likely cost a lot more).

    I don’t think that the true cost should be recouped using residential parking permits, RPPs should not punish residents for the privilege of parking in their own neighborhood. RPPs should punish non-residents who take up long term parking spaces in the neighborhood, that’s all.

    I do think that there should be some nominal cost, at least to cover the administration expense of the program. Unfortunately given the City’s utter inability to manage I/T contracts cost-effectively, I don’t have much faith that the administrative expenses will be minimal.

  • BH’er

    @epc great points, totally agree – not sure what the RPP is actually being intended to do. It will certainly help with some issues and probably create a bunch more

    @Western Brooklyn –
    “Don’t drivers already pay for parking & the roads they drive on with car registration fees, license fees, tolls, gasoline taxes, other taxes, etc.???

    Why not also tax the water we drink & air we breathe?”

    For the cars registered in NY, those fees are supposed to help (although probably barely support the DMV cost base). The number of cars registered out of state is a bit odd but I’ll be most/all have lower registration fees, lower (if any) emission standards, cheaper insurance premiums, etc.

    Which means all of those costs are shifted to the car owners who don’t have an out-of-state relative or address. The cars don’t get inspected, don’t meet our emissions standards and have fraudulent insurance policies (I’m sure the owners will sleep well until they have a claim)

    and, I think the air and water are already being taxed, if not, we should look into it

    @stuart very impressive comments, good luck finishing junior high, i hope puberty goes well for you, son

  • Arch Stanton

    Everything we consume is delivered by truck. So Everyone uses the roads and streets regardless of owning a car or not, and pays towards their maintenance. Car owners pay more accordingly, it’s all fair. A parked car doesn’t cause pollution or congestion, nor does it take up “valuable space”.