Williamsburg’s car owners may soon be breathing easier. Community Board 1 members unanimously voted recently to relax alternate-side parking rules from four days a week to two days. At its monthly meeting last week, board members approved a proposal co-sponsored by Transportation Committee Chair Teresa Toro and CB1 member Simon Weiser that encouraged the Department of Sanitation to cut its cleaning services of particularly clean streets in the neighborhood.”If we can convince the Sanitation Department to make these overdue changes, it will help preserve the sanity of a lot of Williamsburg residents who are sick and tired of having to move their car from one side of the street to another four times a week,” said CB1 Sanitation Chair and City Council candidate Evan Thies. “It will also save the community thousands and thousands of dollars in unnecessary parking tickets.”
This week, the board sent a letter to City Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty with this request. Sanitation officials could not be reached for comment by press time, but Doherty had previously told Councilmember David Yassky that his department would consider relaxing alternate-side rules if areas of Community District 1 had high rates of cleanliness for three consecutive years.
“In a time of fiscal crisis, it is absolutely inexcusable that the Sanitation Department would spend money on a service we don’t need while simultaneously burdening residents with this tremendous waste of time,” said Thies.
Community board members are already looking at the next steps to advance this issue by searching for parking restriction signs on streets with industrial buildings that have been converted to residential or commercial use before the signs were altered, and alerting the Department of Transportation. So far, CB1 members have created 200 car parking spaces after updating the old parking signs.
“While the buildings’ uses have changed, parking restrictions on their streets have not,” said Toro in an e-mail sent to the CB 1 public listserv last week. “If you see parking restrictions that were installed to accommodate manufacturing uses from back in the day, which are now obsolete because the businesses are gone, please let me and the CB1 office know asap.”
Board members explained that they drafted the parking rules proposal in response to shifts in the neighborhood’s demographics. As the population of North Brooklyn has been increasing, parking in Williamsburg has become scarce and the problem has cropped up in related issues.
Some community members have registered their opposition to the Kent Avenue bike lanes because the plan had called for the elimination of parking spaces along the truck route (they have since been restored), and there has been bubbling frustration over television crews that have closed off residential streets while they are filming.
Of course, community board members may also want to avoid getting ticketed themselves.