Tuxedo-clad Gria Jacobs has been a chauffeur in NYC for three years, she said from behind the wheel of her Mercedes. For her, looking good while driving is easy. Parking is hard.
Every year, Jacobson has to shell out $3,000 to $4,000 in parking tickets, the painful price of doing business. And she fears a new DOT program designating public parking spaces to car-share and rental companies means fewer legitimate spots for her — and possibly more tickets.
“It’s all for commercial — truck loading and unloading—and no standing. That’s why I’m at a hydrant right now,” Jacobson said. Though she was hungry, she couldn't leave her car for fear of getting another ticket.
Signed into law Tuesday, the program dedicates 600 vehicle spaces— 300 on-street and 300 off-street —throughout the five boroughs to companies such as ZipCar, Car2Go and Hertz.
It is intended to encourage car-sharing in order to reduce the number of privately-owned vehicles in the city, thereby easing pollution and traffic.
City Council Member Mark Levine was lead sponsor of the measure, arguing that in addition to its environmental benefits, the program will eventually ease some of the parking challenges New Yorkers experience.
“I consider the need to ease parking conditions one of the biggest reasons to pursue this policy,” he said. “If we can reduce the number of privately-owned vehicles, that’s going to reduce the challenge of finding parking.”
The city Department of Transportation is determining how to zone the program, which will likely not be available in Manhattan, below 96th Street.
The best candidates for locations are in other outer boroughs, where there is good access to public transit.
But the DOT willalso require designations in more far-flung neighborhoods such asthe Rockaways in Queens, where there is a lack of public transportation options and car-ownership is low.
Under the new program, 300 parking spaces will be taken from the streets and another 300 will come out of city-owned garages and lots, including those from elderly housing developments.
The legislation’s 31 council sponsors say the long-term benefits of reducing the number of cars outweigh the concerns of drivers losing parking spaces. Not everyone agrees.
Among the opponents are drivers who commute from outside the five boroughs.
People like Allen Aingorn, who runs a gourmet gelato business in Long Island, but who has many clients in the city. He said fewer parking spots willbe another headache, and that he'll have to double-park and risk returning to find another orange ticket on his windshield. When summer comes, and he has to make a delivery, a parking spot several blocks away could mean melting profits, he said.
“They already took away a lot of spots when they put in CitiBike,” he said. “Parking is already a mess."