News & Politics

About Time: City Council to Require Warning of Parking Changes


Enough with the jokes about how the City Council does nothing but ceremonially rename streets. This week its members will take on the most basic of New York’s indignities: the unexpected parking ticket.

Every New Yorker knows the feeling of having one’s daily schedule disrupted without advance warning. You arrive at the subway station only to wait 20 minutes and realize your train is never coming, or find the F train arriving even though you were expecting the A. What, you didn’t notice the little 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of white paper, covered with inscrutable details of the service change, slapped on a wall with masking tape?

Subways are not the only place where New York commuters find themselves startled by sudden changes. If you live on a brownstone block, you have probably come home at least once to notice that a film or TV show is shooting near your house, with a thin line of tape prohibiting parking and a self-important production assistant insisting that you wait to cross the street.

And then there is the arbitrary nature of how the laws around transportation are enforced. Cars and bicycles that block the crosswalk do so with impunity. Except for when they don’t.

All of these regular aggravations of living in the City seemed to have escaped the notice of our representatives in the City Council, until now. One brave man of the people has stood up and finally said, “Enough!”

It turns out, though, that he is not so interested in any of these problems, except the one that happened to recently befall him. A few months ago, says David Greenfield, who represents a portion of southwestern Brooklyn on the City Council, he parked his Honda Accord legally near City Hall. Hours later, the car was gone, having been towed for violating a temporary parking ban. Signs were being posted when he parked, but he did not receive advance warning.

So Greenfield is taking action. He announced that he will introduce a bill on Wednesday to require the city to provide 24-hour notice of any temporary parking restriction. This is an eminently reasonable demand. So reasonable, in fact, it boggles the mind that no such requirement existed before. Now we just need to elect a City Councilman who rides the subway.

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