Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, March 07, 2021

Once or twice in the past, I’ve invoked that old joke about finding a parking spot in New York City:

It’s like playing musical chairs, and everyone already sat down back in 1965.

For all the city government knows, the mid-60s might be when some of the 142,000 municipal free parking permits currently in use — only half of which can be accurately accounted for — were first issued.

The Bloomberg administration has vowed to reduce the number of free passes, as part of the justification for the congestion-reduction plans the Mayor’s been tossing around. But history suggests this cancer won’t be easy to reduce:

The placards have been a source of frustration to New York drivers for decades. In 1987, The New York Times reported that to ease traffic around City Hall, the number of placards issued to public employees would be cut to 15,000 from an estimated 50,000.

But the numbers continued to grow. For example, there are now some 50,000 permits that have been issued to Police Department employees to park around station houses and other workplaces, a number close to the 59,000 police and auxiliary officers and civilian employees who are eligible for them…

The numbers grew, in part, because city agencies were allowed to issue their own permits with no central accounting of whom they went to or why. In addition, the placards were easy to duplicate, creating numerous fakes on the street.

From now on, only the Police and Transportation Departments will be allowed to issue them. That will make them easier to track; it will also make it easier for the police and traffic agents to tell the difference between legitimate and bogus placards, city officials said.

Good luck. The only way to fix this mess is to null and void all the existing permits, and then force those who want/need them to reapply for theirs, with a limited number of justifications for getting them. That sort of drastic act just doesn’t come out of City Hall.

Once again, being carless in the City, I’m glad I don’t have a dog in this particular fight (and can function splendidly besides).

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/07/2021 08:15:57 PM
Category: Politics, New Yorkin'
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