Queens Gazette

Parking Permit Policy Will Move Us Backwards

Regarding the latest push by the state to limit parking by banning drivers without residential parking permits: banning parking might not be a problem for those who have no trouble walking and climbing stairs, but many cannot due to health issues, especially as people age, and/or dis­ability at any age. This is unfair to all of them. And many live in “transit deserts” where there is no train nearby that they can access, or their near­est stations are not ADA compliant. Their only option would be to take three buses to get to a train, and they may not even be able to get to those buses. Even if they could, it would be a struggle, and would certainly discourage them.

There seems to be an unconscious bias that says the only place people want or need to go is Manhattan. This is not the case. We all have peo­ple to see and things to do in most of the other boroughs.

That said, almost no one has the time, physi­cal capability and rarely the desire, to hike from Queens to the Bronx or Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, or in the other direction to visit fam­ily, friends, doctors, work, shop, enjoy a dinner, entertainment or classes, or anything else they might want or need to do. Imagine the trek from Bay Ridge to Riverdale, which takes hours by trains and/ or buses. It is simply not an option to expect people to walk something like that or to reduce their options of ways we currently do have of getting there. And we doubt any funds gener­ated by permits for mass transit would accom­plish the major changes we would need.

Business, family and friend connections will all be lost with this trend of limiting travel and parking. We hope the intent is not to Zoom for­ever.

It is useful, but it is not a replacement for in-person interaction. People still need and/or want to do things in person – shop in stores, dine at restaurants, visit bars and clubs, go to cafes, con­certs, plays, everything. There’s a reason why it’s called virtual vs real. We want the real thing. Vir­tual is for when there are no other viable options. That is no longer the case for the most part, and it is time to stop pretending it is.

If we let this latest parking restriction happen, it will destroy our city even beyond the existing erosion we’ve already suffered and fought through as a result of the terrible pandemic.

Parking will be even more in demand if con­gestion pricing goes into effect, as people will be trying to avoid it by parking in the surrounding neighborhoods which are already beyond capac­ity for parking. But that will be made impossible with permit parking. It’s a house of dominoes – a horribly mixed metaphor, and that is apt because the whole situation is terribly at cross-purposes with what the people really need.

Driving, which is a basic need for many, will become a luxury for only the very few. Right now, parking in a lot for 24 hours can cost as much as $70. As demand goes up those prices will also escalate like crazy.

There might be some who would like pre­ferred parking – and this already exists, in the form of garage space rentals. This is an option that has existed for a long time. In general, it seems the best way is always the way that pro­vides the greatest amount of choice for people.

We venture to guess that NO ONE will say we need LESS options when it comes to travel­ing.

We need travel to be made as easy and ac­cessible as possible, not harder! Proposing residential parking permits is traveling backward, not forward.

And finally, did it occur to anyone that those same people who will have to pay for preferential parking permits by their homes will not be able to GO anywhere once parking is restricted?

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