With Key Positions Unchanged, CB 7 Still Puts Parking Above All [Updated]

To Manhattan CB 7, these free parking spots make all the difference. Image: Google Maps
To Manhattan CB 7, these free parking spots make all the difference. Image: Google Maps

New term, same old Manhattan Community Board 7.

On Tuesday, the Upper West Side board voted against a proposal to remove a handful of parking spaces on Central Park West at W. 106th Street, where cars sit in front of the park’s Strangers Gate entrance.

A source tells Streetsblog that the resolution, which was more than a year in the making, would have “afford[ed] an unobstructed view of the entrance, as is already the case with all the park’s other entrances.”

“Several board members expressed considerable concern over the loss of free parking and co-chair Dan Zweig spoke twice against the proposal,” the source said.

Also on Tuesday, the board recommended against a City Council bill that would suspend or revoke TLC licenses of cab drivers who are summonsed or convicted, respectively, of traffic violations following crashes that result in critical injury or death. The bill was proposed after 9-year-old Cooper Stock was killed by a cab driver in an Upper West Side crosswalk. DNAinfo reports:

CB7 member Michelle Parker said she was upset the law targeted taxi drivers exclusively.

“Why not include anyone who is licensed by the city and has the privilege of driving?” she asked.

Parker added that she was completely against the bill because of the repercussions for cabdrivers.

“There is such a thing as an accident,” she argued. “When a license is suspended, a man cannot work. He is supporting his family.”

Transportation committee co-chairman Dan Zweig thought the law’s language wasn’t specific enough in terms of what counted as a traffic violation, worrying that just having a tail light out and getting into an accident could result in a loss of a driver’s TLC license.

“The concerns have been addressed,” Council Member Helen Rosenthal, the bill’s primary sponsor, told DNAinfo. “I would like to think upon knowing these things they would have voted differently.”

That may be wishful thinking on Rosenthal’s part, given that CB 7 routinely delays decisions on life-saving street designs regardless of public testimony and DOT data. As far as the TLC bill, this week’s vote was entirely symbolic, but the board can and does hold up DOT projects intended to make it safer to walk and bike.

New Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer told Streetsblog last month that she won’t remove community board members who stand in the way safer streets. Instead, she said, she expects new appointments to influence older members. With CB 7 continuing to prioritize free parking and dismissing efforts to save lives and prevent injuries, let’s hope the newcomers are up for it.

Update: It was brought to our attention that Michele Parker (correct spelling), according to an online bio, “is an attorney with over 25 years in the Taxi Industry; first as a licensed medallion broker and then as a lawyer. She has represented many owners and drivers of taxicabs, for hire vehicles and commuter vans.” Parker reportedly disclosed her background before criticizing “Cooper’s Law” as unfair to cab drivers.

  • BBnet3000

    Unlike their constituents, the political class of this city all drive.

  • Mark Walker

    Looks like the Ariel Russo – Cooper Stock honeymoon is over, CB7 is back to its shamefully obstructive ways, and the worst longtime offenders are back to their old tricks. The neighborhood deserves better. The DOT should reconsider existing policy, override CB actions that ignore data, and make streets safer sooner rather than later (or worse, not at all). Lives are at stake. Must we wait for the next Cooper Stock, the next Ariel Russo? And the one after that?

  • Charles

    Would Michelle Parker say that it was just an “accident” if it was her own child or grandchild who was killed by a cabdriver? If you drive carefully and slowly you will not critically injure or kill people. Is that so hard to comprehend?

  • Add a bike lane and community board members will scream “historic preservation” to keep it from going in. But remove parking from in front of a park that dates back to the 19th century and that concern flies out the window.

    Can we just rename certain Community Boards “Parking Bureaus” and spare ourselves the shock and anger each time a decision like this is made?

  • Alex

    The double standard is what gets me here regarding the parking. Bike lanes and Citibike stations somehow “ruin” historic character, but this is ok? What BS.

    But what’s really upsetting are Parker’s thoughts on the TLC license law. Her cold, heartless comments are truly appalling. What a despicable human being.

  • Alex

    That’s basically what the DOT did after Brooklyn CB6 went against community sentiment and common sense. They made a few minor tweaks and “represented” the plan. By then, CB6 had thankfully gotten the message. We need more of that strong-arming. CBs are such a joke.

  • Innocent bystander

    It may be helpful to know that Ms. Parker is an attorney who defends cabbies.

  • Jesse

    “When a license is suspended, a man cannot work. He is supporting his family.”

    Funny, those are also things you can’t do when you’re dead.

  • HamTech87

    So the only positions with lifetime appointments are US Supreme Court justices and Community Board chairs?

  • The Septon

    This Community Board is pathetic. Put them out of our misery all ready, Gale Brewer.

  • jooltman

    “Several board members expressed considerable concern over the loss of free parking.” I would like to know the names of these specific members. They should be publicly listed. They are clearly proud of their views.

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