New York – Councilman David Greenfield will introduce legislation at next week’s Stated City Council meeting to include Tisha B’Av to the city’s list of days when alternate side parking regulations are suspended to accommodate the Jewish community’s religious observances.
Tisha B’Av generally falls in July or August. Most individuals who observe Tisha B’Av spend much of the day in prayer and are unable to move their vehicles while in shul. Because alternate side parking regulations vary from block to block throughout the city, many individuals observing Tisha B’Av are forced to move their vehicles while praying. Moreover, Tisha B’Av often falls on one of the hottest days of the year, meaning drivers are forced to move their vehicle while fasting in brutally hot and uncomfortable temperatures. This legislation would simply include this important day on the list of holidays during which alternate side parking regulations are suspended, out of respect for the religious needs of hundreds of thousands of observant Jewish New Yorkers.
“I am introducing this legislation to make this simple accommodation on behalf of my constituents and religious Jews across the five boroughs. Tisha B’Av is one of the most important dates on the Jewish calendar with much of the day dedicated to prayer at synagogue. Requiring observers to interrupt prayer services to move their vehicle while fasting on what is often one of the hottest days of the year represents a serious hardship for many. I am hopeful that the Mayor and my colleagues will recognize this and add Tisha B’Av to the list of holidays on which alternate side parking is suspended,” said Councilman Greenfield.
New York City currently suspends alternate side parking rules on 26 religious days of observance and all state and national holidays. Drivers would still be required to feed parking meters on Tisha B’Av under Councilman Greenfield’s proposal, but would no longer have to move their vehicle to accommodate street sweeping. The legislation is expected to be introduced at the July 24th Stated Council meeting before being referred to a council committee for hearings.
This proposal represents Councilman Greenfield’s efforts to work with the Department of Sanitation, Department of Transportation (DOT) and other city agencies to ensure the local parking regulations do not conflict with his constituents’ religious needs. Previously, he worked with the Transportation Department to institute a pilot program along 16th Avenue in Boro Park that ends metered parking requirements at 5 p.m. on Fridays, instead of 7 p.m. This freed up hundreds of spaces from 44th Street to 54th Street that had been unusable due to the inability of drivers to feed the meter after Shabbos began.
“In a city as diverse as New York, it is important that government agencies consider the religious and cultural needs of all residents and make reasonable accommodations whenever possible. I am confident this common-sense legislation will have the support of my colleagues from around the city and will make life much easier for Jews as they observe Tisha B’Av in the coming years,” added Councilman Greenfield.