Q Poll: Chris Quinn’s Parking Agenda Out of Touch With New Yorkers

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her city-owned Chevy Suburban in 2008. Photo copyright ##http://www.stevenhirsch.com/##Steven Hirsch##.

To hear Christine Quinn tell it, New Yorkers are crying out for relief from unjust parking policies. Over the last two years, it seems that when City Council members weren’t flogging legislation to add layers of bureaucracy to DOT’s street safety program, they were tripping over themselves to absolve motorists of one responsibility after another.

No matter that most New York commuters don’t drive to work. Or that drivers would be best served by rational prices for on-street parking, not endless cruising for free spots. Or even that one bill, prohibiting the sanitation department from placing stickers on vehicles parked in the path of street sweepers, would put an end to a practice that has benefited the entire city by improving street cleanliness. Nothing has stood in the way of Chris Quinn’s mission to free the put-upon car owner from the tyranny of onerous city edicts.

Including public opinion, it appears. According to a Quinnipiac poll released today, a majority of city voters disagree with Quinn and the council that city sanitation stickers are “unnecessarily punitive.” The poll found that 60 percent of voters, including 57 percent who park on the street, support the use of the stickers.

Support for the yellow stickers ranges from 56 – 40 percent each in Brooklyn and The Bronx to 66 – 26 percent in Manhattan. Men are stuck on the stickers 63 – 33 percent while women want them 57 – 37 percent. There is little partisan difference.

“Even voters who park on the street and do the Alternate Side Parking dance are stuck on the stickers by a wide margin,” said poll director Maurice Carroll in a Quinnipiac media release.

You’ll recall that the sanitation sticker bill was the brainchild of Brooklyn Council Member David Greenfield, who promoted it with characteristic zeal (“I mean, what’s next? We’re going to start slashing people’s tires when they don’t park on the correct side?”). It was also championed by transportation committee chair James Vacca, who called the stickers “cruel.” Weighed against the reality of voter sentiment, such inflammatory rhetoric makes the council look out of touch. It could be that New Yorkers aren’t as worked up about this stuff as their electeds think.

You don’t have to be a political scientist to know that governing by pet peeve is not likely to result in sound policy. Now that Speaker Quinn and the council have impartial evidence that a small number of gripes doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of the electorate at large, maybe they will turn their attention to actual problems, starting with the hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries suffered on city streets every year.

  • Seth R.

    Finally!  I don’t suppose this will involve bike lanes as well, will it?

  • It sucks that people have to get killed for the DOTs realize that their roads are dangerous.

  • Ben from Bedstuy

    Delancey needs protected bike lanes. I think a median lane from the bridge on/off ramps going all the way cross town would be the best. How do we advocate for that to be included while this redesign is in the works?
    Since the Billyburg is the busiest bike bridge, we should be able to get thousands of signatrs in to time fast….

  • @f9b2cb395abd5a101456b3b0a40912e1:disqus  Probably CGI… :/

  • David

    I think they are opening up Clinton st. to cars to go onto the bridge.  This alone may cause some dangers to pedestrians, before it was closed off cars always cheated and ran onto the bridge.  I’ll withhold real judgement until I see a more detailed graphic.

  • Joe R.

    How about taking steps to fix the primary cause of the problems there-namely the unending flow of vehicular traffic? If we had congestion pricing, traffic exiting the Williamsburg Bridge would be light enough that there would be plenty of natural gaps in traffic to cross the street.

  • Anonymous

    Glad to see State Senator Squadron mention the quality of the median as an area for improvement. 

    One problem is that Delancy Street is wide and UGLY. As DOD bicycle and pedestrian director Josh Benson said, “[Delancy] begins to look more like a highway than a normal street. It gives a perception to motorists that … it’s not a neighborhood street anymore.” A wider, planted median strip could reduce the highway ugliness that now signals drivers that it’s OK to speed here.

  • Danny G

    @WoodyinNYC:disqus They have wide, planted median strips on highways. What they need is just what they are proposing, and then an increase in pedestrian traffic, and then a toll on the bridge, 
    and then some buildings with a street wall instead of block-sized parking lots,  and then a subterranean park underneath, and then a center median bikeway, roughly in that order.

  • IsaacB

    What gives pedestrians the “entitlement mentality” that streets should be designed for their safety? 

    Why can’t pedestrians just use common sense and pick a different street to cross? Or drive cars, like real people?Won’t someone think of the motorist?

    (/sarcasm)

  • m to the i

    Sad that the fear of a car on car crash is needed to discourage speeding and red light running at Clinton Street. Apparently, the possibility of injuring or killing someone is not enough.

    Just to reiterate what someone said in yesterdays article about Delancey, I think we are going to see a lot of dangerous red light running from Clinton getting onto the bridge. That barrier was there for a reason. 

  • Guest

    That picture says it all.  That monstrosity is just too big for NYC streets.  Same goes for the SUV.

  • Anon

    “stuck on the stickers”, this put is not only silly but also makes the point much more difficult to see when skimming

  • J

    Overall, I think these are good, if long overdue, improvements. I do think that they are a pretty timid in some instances. For example, between Chrystie & Forsyth, Delancey is significantly wider than on the blocks immediately east and west, a remnant of the proposed LoMEx, I believe. Under the proposed plans, despite some sidewalk extensions, the roadbed remains remains significantly wider than on adjacent blocks. This, awkwardly adds extra driving space for that one block. Why not reclaim that additional space for pedestrians? Extra road space => a wider looking roadway => extra vehicle speed => more injuries. Also, there is easily an extra 10 feet that can be reduced from the pedestrian crossing distance by extending the proposed neckdowns at the SE corner of Christie & Delancey and at the SW corner of Forsyth & Delancey. Why wasn’t this done? Surely it would reduce ped injuries, and it wouldn’t hurt traffic to eliminate this block-long wider road anomaly. In fact, making the street width consistent would lead to less weaving and confusion and a smoother, more efficient traffic flow.

    There are also some inexplicable lane additions. For example, four lanes of westbound traffic come off the bridge. Three lanes can proceed straight, while one is forced to turn right on to Clinton. However, IMMEDIATELY west of Clinton, a fourth lane is added again, inducing faster driving speeds again. Why? There can’t possibly be a bottleneck there, since DOT determined that three westbound through-lanes were sufficient at Clinton, and demand isn’t created mid-block. Perhaps the turn lanes two block away backs up a bit, but that seems like an unreasonable amount of congestion to accomodate. Like Gehl says, if you plan for traffic and congestion, you’re going to get traffic and congestion.

    All in all, though, this is an awesome set of improvements, and I can’t wait for them to be implemented. I understand not wanting to push for too much, too quickly. That said, there are several places that this plan can be made better without harming traffic. I also think that DOT is not likely to get this much political cover for increasing congestion for the sake of safety in other locations. Their reluctance to do so, I think, is evidence of their car-centric past and their desire to simply nibble at the edges for the time being. At some point, however, we will run out of low-hanging fruit, and I’m not holding my breath for the congestion pricing messiah any time soon.

  • Anonymous

    @b4a5eba3fdc7e69ca000b7c0bb4f992a:disqus

    I think we are going to see a lot of dangerous red light running from
    Clinton getting onto the bridge.

    Well it’s not red light running if the traffic agent is waving them through 😉

    I also cross Delancey on Clinton (to get to the other side, not to get on the bridge) heading north on my daily commute home.  Though, if Clinton will now get all the bridge traffic, I might take a different route.  Can they finish the construction on Allen already!

  • dporpentine

    Presumably the bars on the grill are there to help support the inevitable “I didn’t even notice I killed the biker” defense? 

  • J

    This is the “progressive leadership” we have to settle for in NYC? Come on, Quinn. In response to her email touting her transportation “achievements”, I wrote her in disgust a few weeks ago. Her office responded that the parking reforms were in response to “stories” she’d heard about unfair tickets. No data or research, just stories. I have a few “stories” about almost being killed in a crosswalk while crossing with the ped signal or being run off the road on my bike. There are also nearly 300 “stories” about people killed last year on our streets. I also heard some “stories” about gross NYPD negligence when investigating ped and bike crashes, decades of declining bus speeds, and rampant parking abuse. Yet none of these deserve legislative action? What did Quinn’s office think deserved immediate legislative action, you ask? Let’s see, MTA signal inspections, codifying existing public participation practices, accessible pedestrian signals, and MTA blizzard response. She’s really sticking her neck out for progressive transportation policy (sarcasm).

    Full text of her email below:

    “Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to our recent transportation report, Mr. XXXX.  I appreciate you sharing your comments and feedback with us.The Fair Parking Legislative Package that we recently passed was in direct response to the many stories we’ve heard about New Yorkers receiving parking tickets that they clearly didn’t deserve. Yes, our motivation in passing these bills was to provide some relief to motorists while promoting more judicious parking enforcement and fairer ticketing practices citywide.   However, that certainly doesn’t mean that we aren’t focused on addressing the entire range of our city’s diverse and varied transportation needs, including mass transit. In fact, if you recall, in our first transportation report we spoke about many of our initiatives to help improve transportation, make our sidewalks and streets safer to travel, provide greater information to the public in regards to safety, and ensure that our communities have a greater say in the proposed transportation and roadway changes affecting our areas.   Since then we have held hearings on MTA signal inspections and accessible pedestrian signals.  We have issued detailed recommendations to the MTA about how to prevent another disaster like the Christmas blizzard of 2010.  And we have continued to work closely with our constituents and advocates to help ensure that the full range of our city’s transportation needs are being addressed.  I’m more than happy to provide you with additional information about these initiatives, if you like. Again, I appreciate you sharing your comments and feedback with us.  Given all the challenges we face, especially when it comes to transportation, it’s important for us to continue working together and to find common ground where we can.

    Thanks again.

     Best,
    Chris Quinn
    Speaker

    cc: Transportation Committee”

  • Guest

    Hi J, I had the same reaction as you and also wrote to her about her email, and got the same auto-reply yesterday.  Of course, I immediately shot back my own reply, pointing out the Quinnipiac numbers as well as the fact that none of the items on her legislative agenda really deal with the problems that result from making automobiles more convenient to drive in the city.

  • Andrew

    No increase in crossing time?  How depressing.

  • Ace

    That’s the photo I referred to last week! Worth way more than a thousand words!

  • Hilda

    She actually has motion sickness…which will happen with one of those vehicles.

  • fj

    nice bag

  • TylerChill

    She is out of touch with transit issues, uses that three ton Chevy to drive from Chelsea to City Hall, and will be the next mayor in all likelihood.  Alhough petty, this legislation should be taken seriously as to what to expect from Mayor Quinn. 

  • Anonymous

    It is rare that Quinn looks diminutive and delicate, but compared to this behemoth she does!  

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