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Queens Chronicle

Council approves parking permits

Pols cross neighborhood, party lines in resident parking debate

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Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:46 pm, Thu Nov 17, 2011.

A City Council vote on Nov. 3 sent a controversial request to the state legislature.

The council voted by a 40-8 margin to ask for permission to study and set up a residential parking permit system in an effort to help residents in areas with heavy parking congestion.

The request, now headed to Albany, backs proposals by state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn and Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D-Brooklyn) that are aimed at the soon-to-be completed Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which will host large events such as professional basketball, but will provide fewer than 2,000 parking spaces for those who attend.

Under the bills, residents in certain designated neighborhoods could purchase permits that would allow them use up to 80 percent of the spaces in the designated area.

And the council vote made for some odd bedfellows in the Queens delegation.

Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Peter Koo (R-Flushing), whose district includes Citi Field, voted “no”, as did Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).

Included in the “yes” votes were Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills).

Ulrich said the proposal is not the draconian decree that some opponents have painted it.

“I have several neighborhoods in my district where people can’t park on their own street,” the councilman said. “In Howard Beach, airline employees or passengers will park near the Air Train to get to the airport, and their cars can sit there for a week or two.”

He said the same happens in places like South Ozone Park.

“This would not be for every neighborhood, and not in neighborhoods where people don’t want it,” he said. “We’re asking the legislature to let us study it. Let us set up a pilot program and take a look.”

Vallone, whose own district has parking spaces going at a premium, isn’t convinced, at least not yet.

“One, all this was done in a few days,” he said. “I didn't have the opportunity to go into my community to get any input. Two, I’m very nervous about giving the government any new revenue streams. Just look at what happened to tolls and building permit fees. They have gone up and this would go the same way.”

Vallone also admitted he isn’t crazy about the home rule provisions that the city is saddled with in Albany.

“We’re actually giving the state permission to allow the council to give individuals permission to do something,” Vallone said. “I don’t think there’s a “Schoolhouse Rock” jingle for that.”

Koslowitz and Crowley both were won over by provisions that would protect business and commercial streets.

Conventional wisdom since passage in the Council is that the vote will be meaningless, with many saying the measure is dead on arrival in the GOP-controlled state Senate.

It was a contention Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) did little to dispel in a statement issued last week in appearing to line up with Vallone.

“Unfortunately the New York City Council is once again trying to pick the pockets of city residents,” he said. “The idea that someone would have to pay to park in front of their own house is ludicrous.”

Golden also is not sold on the idea that business districts would be protected.

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