Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is continuing his efforts to have metered parking end earlier on Friday afternoons in Boro Park, when Shabbos comes in early during the winter. Since January, the Assemblyman has been working with Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to make these changes.
In January, Assemblyman Hikind first contacted the DOT to thank them for making changes on 16th Avenue, reducing meter hours to 9AM to 5PM. Prompted by NYC Councilman Greenfield, the changes allowed Sabbath observers on or near 16th Avenue to pay the meters prior to the onset of the Sabbath.
“Parking is at a premium in Boro Park, so I am writing to request that you expand this popular regulation to the two other major commercial avenues in my district-13th Avenue and 18th Avenue,” wrote Hikind. “This will afford residents on or near those avenues the same peace of mind that residents now experience on 16th Avenue.”
But on March 19, Commissioner Trottenberg denied the request, stating that prior to the implementation of the 16th Avenue pilot program in 2011, the DOT conducted surveys on 13th, 14th, 16th and 18th Avenues. “The surveys showed that only 16th Avenue had a sizeable percentage of businesses which closed early on the Sabbath,” she wrote.
Assemblyman Hikind immediately dispatched his staff to conduct surveys on 13th and 18th Avenues. Subsequently, he replied to Commissioner Trottenberg, “I respectfully differ with your response. I have been representing this community for 32 years and I can attest to the fact that there is virtually no difference between 13th, 16th and 18th Avenues in terms of religious observance of the Sabbath by store owners and the overwhelming majority of their clientele.” Hikind explained that his own recent surveys fully supported what he already knew: Over 90% of the businesses on 13th and 18th Avenues close several hours before the onset of the Sabbath.
“I strongly urge the DOT to reassess 13th and 18th Avenues and grant our request for a change in parking meter regulations,” said Hikind.