There’s a new advocacy group promoting the need for a citywide residential parking permit system. The campaign, NYC Resident Parking, is being led by retired Upper West Side attorney Renee Baruch. The goal is to have parking permits allocated to local residents by district, while also allowing street parking for retail and commercial business owners and their employees, according to a press release provided to ILTUWS.
“Virtually every city in the world has some form of a residential parking permit system,” said Baruch in the press release. “On the Upper West Side, we are now seeing an increasing number of cars with out-of-state license plates, largely for people with second homes claimed as primary residences and who would rather not pay the higher insurance to register in New York City. From our standpoint, if they don’t want to pay income taxes to the city and contribute to enforcement and sanitation, then let them rent space in a garage or park at a meter and leave the curbside spaces they are hogging for those of us who choose to pay our way here!”
At an October 2019 Community Board 7 panel meeting discussing residential parking permits on the Upper West Side, former Manhattan Borough DOT Commissioner Ed Pincar detailed what he expected of the department over the next decade. “If the last 10 years was focused on trying to develop a series of tools for safer streets, I think curb management is going to be the theme for the next 10 years,” reported Gothamist. Pincar went on to say, “Particularly as technology improves, it would be great if there were different spots on a block that are charged different amounts and maybe have different times.”
“New York City is the only major city in the country that doesn’t have some element of a residential-parking permit program,” said current Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine in a 2019 story by StreetsBlog titled “Residential-Parking Permits: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?” The piece points out previous politicians who’ve tried to get such a campaign off the ground, with little to no success. One such effort was made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008. Levine also sponsored legislation in 2018 to “amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the creation of a residential parking permit system in Northern Manhattan.” The bill introduced by current Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, Ydanis Rodrigues, did not pass.
Council Member Gale Brewer, who was Manhattan Borough President at the time, presented a white paper in 2019 showing how seven other major cities around the world — including London, Stockholm, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon — have handled their resident parking permit programs. In the conclusion of the report, Brewer stated, “It should be noted that in a city as litigious as New York, there may be legal challenges to any RPP system.” Indeed, the DOT testified at a 2018 City Committee Council hearing on transportation that without state authorization, the city may be “… prohibited from restricting highway use — including parking — based on residency.”
Brewer went on to say: “There is, however, another legal view that the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1642, grants New York City the necessary authority and that courts would support an RPP program as long as sufficient metered spots are still made available to visitors.”
Renee Baruch and members of her nonprofit group have been canvassing the city while people sit in their vehicles during alternate-side parking hours, passing out flyers while they wait for street cleaners to come through.
For more information or to register to volunteer, please visit www.NYCResidentParking.org.