May 4, 2011
By Abby Mitchell
Transportation Alternatives recently released a study indicating widespread parking permits abuse and counterfeiting, adding fuel to the fight for permit reform.
Currently, there are 78,000 permits authorized for city employees. Transportation Alternatives study determined that 57 percent of the parking permits surveyed in all five boroughs were either fake or legal permits used inappropriately. A fourth of the permits in the study were forged.
The organization says that this is both a safety hazard and general nuisance to local residents.
“When motorists are parking in front of fire hydrants and crosswalks, on sidewalks, they’re blocking the way for emergency vehicles to get through, they’re making life very difficult and dangerous for pedestrians,” said Executive Director Paul Steely White.
Permit abuse also hurts local commerce by taking parking from customers and blocking deliveries.
Barbara Clurman of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association noted that many of the permit holders use them “as commuter parking, not as official city business.”
Clurman said she has seen significant blow back at her Brooklyn store, Silk Road Antiques, because of over congested parking, citing a lack of foot traffic.
“I’ve been a merchant on Atlantic Avenue for 10 years and for 10 years this has been a problem,” she said. “We lose prime parking to people who don’t shop.”
Council member Daniel Garodnick (D – Manhattan) is pushing through a piece of legislation he claims will address these concerns. The “Authentic Permit Act” orders the use of bar codes on all city permits.
“There are so many parking permits with so many points of authority that at a certain point it becomes nearly impossible to know what is legit and what is not,” Garodnick said. “We want to eliminate all ambiguity for the enforcement agent.”
According to Garodnick, the bill has 21 co sponsors and he expects a hearing date soon.