It’s no secret that NYC community boards are highly protective of on-street parking, since their members seem more likely to be car owners than the population at large, but it was news to us that board chairs and district managers have free parking perks.
The Brooklyn Paper reports that, come February 1, community board chairs will lose the city-issued placards that allow them to park in metered spots for three hours. While you’d think that would spur them to walk, bike, or take transit to get to meetings in their own neighborhoods, CB 15 chair Theresa Scavo says she will spend less time performing civic duties and more time feeding the meter.
“If I park at a meter that only takes an hour’s worth of quarters, I can’t stay at the meetings the whole time,” Scavo said.
Judging from the quotes collected for this story, it’s as if free parking is considered a reward for the onerous burden of community service — even among community board staff, who are paid for their work.
“They’re doing the community a favor,” said Community Board 18 district manager Dorothy Turano. “I’m doing it as part of my obligation, and there’s no question I deserve to have this pass, but so does [Community Board 18 chairman] Sol Needle.”
Turano and other district managers will retain their parking perks.
The sense of entitlement on display here goes a long way toward explaining why many community boards tend to value curbside parking — for automobiles, not bikes — above all else. From street safety projects to Greenmarkets, in some districts no sacrifice is too great when it comes to preserving the privilege of on-street vehicle storage.
If it looks like their volunteer work might compromise the time required to tend to their cars, Scavo and other auto-dependent board chairs should consider surrendering their posts to people who have a more realistic perspective on what it’s like to get around in New York.