The Greenfield/Vacca/Quinn Parking Panderfest Can’t Fix This

The viral video of the day, courtesy of Dan Amira at New York Mag, is this bout over a free parking space on the Upper East Side. It’s got all the hallmarks of NYC street dysfunction — traffic backups, aggressive use of motor vehicles, honking, road rage, left jabs.

In related news, David Greenfield, James Vacca, and Christine Quinn had a press conference yesterday to announce that the City Council has addressed the urgent need for “Muni-meter reform,” passing legislation to help people stop paying Muni-meters when free parking is in effect or the machine is out of paper to dispense receipts. If the mayor signs the bill, it will join the 5-minute grace period for parking scofflaws and the elimination of alt-side shaming stickers as the signature legislative accomplishments of the City Council transportation committee in the Quinn/Vacca era.

Of course, none of the City Council’s efforts to make parking less of a headache have actually addressed the real source of aggravation. There’s a fixed amount of curb space in the city, but almost all curbside parking is either free or underpriced, hence the chronic shortage of available parking. And the occasional outbreak of physical violence.

  • Eric McClure

    They should have had a five-minute grace period before starting to punch each other, during which cooler heads might have prevailed. Morons.

    And the irony is that it appears there may have been enough room for everyone to park.

  • Driver

    It’s not clear to me that both drivers wanted the same spot. It seems more likely that the driver in front wanted to back up and wait for the other car to pull out and held up traffic, which probably led to honking, then words, then a game of quien es mas macho.
    I say this because when the spot opens up, the second car could have simply pulled forward into the spot. Instead it seems he just wanted to keep the first guy from being able to get into the spot rather than take the spot for himself.

  • Guest

    Everyone realizes that NYC is a place where people just pile their trash out on the street? get a flippin bin!

  • Guest

    If this had involved a bike share station the Post would have sent 7 of their worst reporters to cover it.

  • Daphna

    Don’t forget, aside from all the legislation listed in the above article that Greenfield/Vacca/Quinn passed to make it easier for those parking both legally and illegally, they also passed legislation to postpone the time when late fees would start accumulating on unpaid parking tickets. Greenfield/Vacca/Quinn have made it easier all around for parking scofflaws! Something to to be proud of????

  • JamesR

    Agreed about the trash. It looks nasty and uncivilized. Kind of like the fight, which was kind of awesome in a twisted way. Like ‘The Warriors’ come to life.

  • Bolwerk

    Maybe there are state or federal regulations preventing this, but why doesn’t the city ever consider mandating smaller cars somehow? I have almost never, ever heard anyone mention this, and I can’t imagine a simpler, more sane policy. It’s not like “Smart Cars” are illegal.

    It’s the type of policy that can be phased in over the course of five years, giving most people time to cycle through their 2013 Escalades or bugger off to Florida with their public pension.

  • JamesR

    That’s pie in the sky. Even if enacted city-wide, how would this stop someone from driving in from say, Jersey, with a giant SUV?

    No, the first step is to crack down on the massive amount of insurance fraud taking place in the city, with thousands of cars registered to PA, CT, MA, and elsewhere but stored overnight on city streets. Once we do that, we then implement a residential permit parking system, rationally priced.

  • Anonymous

    The ridiculous thing is how my far left friends object to letting market prices rise for parking and for gas, because by doling out these scarce commodity to those who have the money, we lose social solidarity.

    Because nothign sayus “solidarity” more than two men boxing over a free parking spot (or a place in a gas line)…

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    Even if there were a miracle and it passed in NYC and NY state, it would still take a federal law because of the constitution’s interstate commerce clause.

    It may be possible at the state or local level to levy a property tax on cars registered to that jurisdiction based on their weight but that doesn’t solve the out of state car issue.

  • Bolwerk

    I wouldn’t stop them. Would just charge them significantly more (like 2.5x) for using two spaces.

  • Anonymous

    I was riding through an intersection today and some jaywalking schmuck yelled “get a fucking car” at me. That’s the mind of an average New Yorker.

  • Bolwerk

    I could be mistaken, but so far as I know, there isn’t a federal law preventing such a scheme. It doesn’t need to be a hard ban either, simply a surcharge on using more space.

    Maybe I should have been more clear about this, but there are reasons to use bigger vehicles sometimes. It is a bit hard to make the case that they should be used every day for every trip, however.

  • Bolwerk

    That sounds like the mind of a below-average New Yorker.

    Very below-average, in fact. Most people who are that impolite usually don’t feel so powerful until they can floor the gas to get away from the people they harass. Hopefully natural selection will remove him from our gene pool.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I hope you’re right.

  • Andrew

    2.5 x 0 = 0

  • Driver

    There already is a surcharge, namely higher vehicle cost and higher operating costs (gas, maintenance, car washes). Somehow the costs involves are not prohibitive.

  • Bronxite

    Should have taken the subway, lol.

  • Bolwerk

    The cost of driving those things is still heavily subsidized. Even having a price signal for how much space a driver takes up could probably do wonders.

  • Bolwerk

    WTF is this comment?

  • Andrew

    If a parking space is free (for the driver), then charging 2.5 times extra doesn’t accomplish anything.

  • ADN

    Notice that these guys are completely willing to punch each other in the face but when they get back in their cars they are incredibly careful not to bump fenders. This tells you pretty much everything you need to know. These bozos care more about the well-being of their motor vehicles than themselves and, most likely, other people.

  • Joe R.

    The city could ban any type of vehicle it wants from its streets. Look at the current ban on electric bicycles, for example. If that’s legal, then a ban on SUVs, or even all private passenger cars, would certainly be legal.

  • Joe R.

    This just shows what many here already know-most drivers are miserable people from dealing with all the stresses associated with operating a motor vehicle in a congested area. They vent their misery at whatever targets of opportunity are handy-other drivers, pedestrians, and especially cyclists. They probably love to pick on cyclists for the simple reason most cyclists appear to be enjoying themselves while they’re obviously not.

  • Anonymous

    Your left friends are half right. The problem is in the ambiguity of “market.” Letting commodity prices rise, say for gasoline, does reduce usage but at the cost of more profits, revenues and political power for the fossil fuel corps. OTOH, charging a *social* price for parking, driving, and, for that matter, gasoline, through curbside charges, congestion charging, and gasoline or carbon taxing, generates public revenues that can be invested or distributed in socially beneficial ways. Bottom line: your friends should be on board with social pricing, while we should all be cautious/judicious about market pricing.

  • Joe R.

    It doesn’t take much thought to figure out why. Obviously they identify with their cars, probably because their cars help them compensate for a deficiency in a certain part of their anatomy. So messing with their cars is almost like messing with their private parts. That also explains why SUV drivers are the worst. The bigger “it” is, the more angry they get when you mess with.

  • Current Expatriot

    Look more closely at the image, New York. A beautiful, leafy neighborhood streetscape… but it’s jam-packed with private motor vehicles, the sidewalk is piled with garbage and you’ve got a pair or hairless chimpanzees throwing punches at each other.

  • Current Expatriot

    Look more closely at the image, New York. A beautiful, leafy neighborhood streetscape… but it’s jam-packed with private motor vehicles, the sidewalk is piled with garbage and you’ve got a pair or hairless chimpanzees throwing punches at each other.

  • tyler

    That’s all part of the “historic charm” of the neighborhood.

  • Bolwerk

    Free parking anywhere where there is constrained supply is inexcusable. For that matter, there are other options to enforce such rules, like charging a higher toll for larger cars, though that might be more difficult to enforce smoothly.

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