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Space-Hogging Drivers, CB 12 Kill Washington Heights Greenmarket

185.jpgCB 12 traded a Greenmarket for 24/7 parking privileges on 185th Street, which holds 19 cars. Photo: Brad Aaron

Last September, Manhattan Community Board 12 tabled a resolution in support of a new Greenmarket for W. 185th Street in Washington Heights. The effort to locate the market was community-driven -- a neighborhood resident gathered 1,000 signatures in support of it -- the board's parks committee was enthusiastically in favor, and the city's Greenmarket office was in the process of securing a tow truck to remove errant vehicles. But the idea stalled when a handful of area residents predicted the market would draw noisy early-morning crowds, and complained that it would tie up the street's 19 parking spots for a few hours a week.

Earlier that month, the board's transportation committee declined to vote on the market, citing concerns over parking. Said committee member Jim Berlin: "There are thousands of people in the area who own cars, any of whom might park there at some point. We want to hear from the community and whether they want to give up their parking." 

Though there were only a few of them at the general meeting (three who weren't board members, to be exact), detractors put on a nasty public show, and the proposal was sent back to the parks committee. Two months ago, the Manhattan Times reports, the board signed off on a different plan: a Friday market on the sidewalk at Ft. Washington Avenue and 181st Street. But it's not going to happen, according to Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz.

"That is no more," Hurwitz said. "We found a location that would serve a bigger community."

Thatlocation is somewhere around W. 168th Street -- a market that wasthought to be yet another greenmarket at the May Community Board 12Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee meeting.

"The community totally supported theaddition of a Greenmarket at 181st Street," said Elizabeth Ritter,chair of the Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee. She pointed out thatthe 181st Street location was approved by Hurwitz before discussionstarted about a market near the hospital.

"The community would love to have both," she said.

Had it not been for a relatively tiny number of entitled drivers, and their enablers, the community may have gotten its wish.

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