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.

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