The Other Livable Streets Showdown in Park Slope Tomorrow

By now you’ve probably heard about the big rally to defend the Prospect Park West bike lane tomorrow morning. Everyone who can attend should make every effort to get to Grand Army Plaza at 8:00 a.m. and show how deep the support for the PPW re-design runs.

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DOT has proposed extending the Park Smart zone from the light blue areas on this map into the orange areas.

There’s another event happening tomorrow that has big implications for sustainability and safer streets. It concerns what’s probably the most effective traffic reduction technique in NYC DOT’s toolkit.

Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., DOT will present the next steps for its Park Smart pilot in Park Slope to the transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 6. If you live in or near Park Slope, you can go to the rally in morning, head over to work, apologize to the boss for being a little late, put in a day at the office, then head back to the neighborhood for more livable streets action.

Park Smart is intended to cut traffic and curb double-parking. By aligning parking meter rates with parking demand, it promises to free up enough spots to reduce cruising for spaces and take away the temptation for motorists to stop in the traffic lane or the bike lane for a few minutes.

So far the results in Park Slope have been promising: the pilot program has reduced traffic and increased parking turnover. That means more customers for local businesses and less congestion on the streets.

A number of proposals are expected to be up for discussion tomorrow: making the pilot permanent, expanding the Park Smart zone throughout the Park Slope commercial district on Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue, extending the hours peak meter rates are in effect, and raising peak meter rates to $2.25 per hour.

With 40 percent of motorists telling DOT in a recent survey that they’re still frustrated with finding a place to park in Park Slope, raising the rate makes sense from a sustainability perspective and a retail business perspective. Still, it’s expected to be a contentious proposition.

If Park Smart takes root in Park Slope with optimal peak hour rates, the implications could be citywide. This is the only performance parking pilot outside Manhattan right now, but commercial streets all over the five boroughs could use the congestion-busting effects of Park Smart. Come out tomorrow night at 6:30 and speak up for a program that shows how NYC streets and NYC businesses benefit from putting the right price on parking.

New York Methodist Hospital
506 6th Street, Auditorium
(between 7th/8th Avenues)
Brooklyn NY 11215

  • JK

    By far the most important part of this is the expanded metering on 5th between 9th and 15th, which includes “spur” or side street parking. There is spur parking on Manhattan’s Upper West Side south of 86th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam and Broadway and West End Ave and on Fordham Road in the Bronx. The problem with raising meter rates on big, retail, streets is that without some side street metering, you encourage cruising for parking on the adjacent, free side streets. T.A.’s excellent Columbus Avenue cruising study found this to be a big problem, with 100% plus occupancy on the side streets adjacent to metered sections of Columbus. For metering to work, we have to get out of the conceptual box of using it only to create turnover for retail. That is a historical anachronism. Any street with 100% curbside occupancy should be metered. Otherwise, where are all the delivery vehicles, plumbers, electricians etc servicing those buildings parking?

  • @JK,

    Where are all the delivery vehicles, plumbers, electricians etc servicing those buildings parking?

    That’s a silly question — they’re all double-parked on Prospect Park West, of course.

    Seriously, the proposed expansion and enhancement of the Park Smart program makes a lot of sense, and I hope residents will come out and urge the Community Board to support the changes.

  • tom murphy

    JK: A question to you. Any street with 100% curbside occupancy should be metered, you say. So, how far away from retail and into residential would you go? Where do you stop? River to river?
    I think I’ll go tonight to keep up on this.

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