COMMON SENSE STREETS
WELCOMES YOU

 

URGENT MEETING FEB 4TH 6:30PM

Please attend and be heard

FULL BOARD MEETING TO VOTE ON THE LATEST RESOLUTION
FEBRUARY 4TH at 6:30PM
CONGREGATION RODEPH SHOLOM
7 WEST 83rd STREET
This is the next meeting where the full board will vote on the current revised resolution targeting parking. You can find the latest revision here on the website. We need a massive turnout at this meeting. Our turnout at the December Full Board played a significant role in getting the resolution sent back to the committee for rewriting. The Transportation Committee has been using the upcoming congestion pricing as a cover to initiate a "study" about its effect on the UWS. We do not oppose a study. We oppose a biased study where the conclusions and problems are outlined in the resolution.

 

WHO WE ARE

Giving Residents A Voice

We are New Yorkers and Upper West Side residents who are seeking a balanced approach to the use of Cars and Bikes with a priority on safety and reducing traffic. We are organizing to present an alternative view of what our community wants and needs. We want to develop a strategic plan and vision that represents the community not special interest lobbying groups.

 

STEP ONE

A Moratorium

Community Board 7 recently held a "panel" to discuss the elimination of curbside parking. The panel was made up of a board member of Transportation Alternatives (TA), the former President of TA and a member of DOT and a transportation policy expert. Not a single person represented the perspective of vehicle owners or of residents of the community. They also were unable to present a single concrete proposal or to discuss in a meaningful way the impact of the elimination of curbside parking, congestion parking or residential parking.


We're calling on Community Board 7, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, and Borough President Gale Brewer to institute an immediate moratorium on the further construction of bike lanes and any further elimination of unmetered curbside parking on the Upper West Side until crucial study, planning and implementation of congestion pricing and residential parking can be undertaken.

 

JOIN US

Your Voice Is Important

We need your support, your voice and your ideas. Bringing us together is just the first step but it is crucial as we are facing professional lobbying groups pushing a very specific pro-bike anti-car agenda that is not based on any input from the community. We live here and want our voices heard. So please at least provide your email below and join us on Facebook.

 

HISTORY OF RESOLUTIONS

The Transportation Committee of CB7 began this process in May of 2019 by passing the first resolution. This was followed by a revised "softer" resolution in the late fall that was brought to the full board in December for a vote. The board recognized that this resolution was biased and sent it back to the committee. The third version is what is proposed to be voted on at the February full board meeeting. When you read these the biased views of the committee's members are very apparent and the previous resolutions give insight into their motivations and ultimate goals.

1. 

This is the resolution as written and passed by the CB7 Transportation Committee last spring:

A congestion pricing plan was passed by the state government which will impose fees on cars that travel south of 60th Street. The committee is concerned that this will cause an increase in the number of non-residents looking for parking on streets just north of this border, so that they can park for free and then take public transportation into the congestion zone. This will cause an increase in people "cruising" the neighborhood looking for parking (already a significant problem). Additionally, the committee believes that the city's current policy of allowing the vast majority of street space adjacent to curbs to be used for free parking needs to be revisited regardless of this effect of Congestion Pricing. This huge amount of city-owned land is a precious resource in a city as dense as New York and, as with all city resources, should be used in a manner that helps those in need and/or creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Free parking for private cars strongly encourages private car use over mass transit, thereby creating traffic congestion, pollution, environmental degradation and unsafe conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and other users of the street. It also exacerbates economic inequality by directing limited city resources to private car owners (a group of people more economically privileged than non-car owners) rather than to New Yorkers in general or to New Yorkers who are disadvantaged either economically or physically. Community Board 7/ Manhattan Therefore, the committee resolves that the city discontinue the policy of providing free parking for private cars and consider (1) more productive and equitable uses of curbside space and (2) the most efficient way to get fair value for the provision of any private parking it does provide. The committee specifically recommends that the city's review of this policy include, but not necessarily be limited to, paid residential parking permits, metering capable of surge pricing and the best practices of other major cities

2.

This is the toned-down version that was sent back.

Transportation Committee Resolution on Equitable Uses of Curbside Space

The following facts were taken into consideration:

A congestion pricing plan was passed by New York State which will impose fees on cars that travel south of 60th Street. This may increase congestion of non-residents looking to park on streets north of 60th Street within CD7 in order to avoid driving into the congestion zone,
City owned street space next to curbs is a precious commodity. This huge amount of City owned land should be used to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people,
Free parking for privately owned cars strongly encourages private car use over mass public transit, thereby creating traffic congestion, pollution, environmental degradation as well as unsafe conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and other users of the street. It exacerbates economic inequality by directing limited City resources to private car owners.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT Community Board 7/Manhattan requests that the City asses and analyze the policy of providing free parking for private cars and consider wether there are more productive and equitable uses of curbside space, including, but not limited to: paid residential parking permits, meters capable of surge pricing and the best practices of other major cities. 

3.

Latest version that is being debated now.

REQUEST FOR A STUDY ON CURBSIDE USAGE

Our community currently suffers from traffic congestion, rampant double parking particularly due to growing  e-commerce deliveries, significant ·”cruising" for parking and a substantial number of injuries to street users.

Congestion pricing is scheduled to be implemented in just over one year and community residents and business owners have expressed concern about the implications of this new policy.

How we use our curbside space has remained largely unchanged for many decades while our City has changed dramatically. This City owned land should be used to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people, with a particular focus on the needs and concerns of the residents of our community.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Community Board 7/Manhattan requests that the City: (1) assess current policy regarding parking and curbside usage, (2) advise us as to whether there are policies that could provide greater benefit to the community, improve traffic flow and promote safer streets, including, but not limited to, paid residential parking permits, metering with surge capability and the practices of other major cities, and (3) conduct studies both before and after the implementation of congestion pricing to establish its effect on the community.

 

FAQ

More questions? Let us know?


1. Why is our community board pushing this?


It isn’t the entire community board it is the Transportation Committee. Unfortunately, there are multiple members of this committee who are also members of a radical, activist, well funded, pro cycling lobbying group, Transportation Alternatives. In fact, the Chairman of the Committee is a board member of Transportation Alternatives. This is a blatant conflict of interest. Transportation Alternatives Purpose as stated on their website:


“Transportation Alternatives’ mission is to reclaim New York City's streets from the automobile. Transportation Alternatives believes that this public space belongs to the people of New York City, and we are working with New Yorkers in every borough to reclaim our streets.”


Apparently, as car owners, we are not New Yorkers.


2. The resolution calls for a study of more “productive uses” of the “valuable curbside space”

What are these uses?


At an October 29th community forum that was supposed to inform us about possible uses and the need for this resolution, very little actual concrete information was given. It should be noted that the panel consisted entirely of anti-car opinions including a Transportation Alternatives board member and the former President! The three main ideas were: 


A. More truck loading and unloading zones


Truck loading and unloading zones have been tested and failed on the UWS including up and down West End Avenue where one of the major purposes of the redesign and reduction from 4 to 2 lanes was purported to be the accommodation of double parking!


B. Corrals for garbage and more bicycles


One can only imagine how quickly garbage corals will become damaged and an eyesore.


There are already Citi Bike stations everywhere eating up valuable curb space. Nobody who owns a private bike is going to want to leave their bikes in a coral outside where they can be damaged or stolen. In fact, many UWS buildings have bike rooms for storage.


C. Parklets. In other words table and chairs in the street.


We are blessed to be surrounded by TWO amazing parks, Central Park and Riverside Park. No UWS resident is more than a couple of blocks from a park. This is where our community congregates and recreates. In addition, there are already gathering spots from community gardens to Straus Park to Morningside Park from Lincoln Center to Columbia University. In addition, we need look no further than the negative elements already congregating in the parklets on Broadway or to see the negative elements such as “furries” that are present in other city parklets. These are simply unnecessary in our neighborhood and will, in fact, have a real negative impact.


3. What is Congestion Pricing and what will its effect be on parking and traffic?


Congestion Pricing is an extra fee charged to cars for traveling in certain areas. Right now, it is below 61st street. The thought is that as a result more people will now flood the UWS looking for parking. We simply don’t know if this is true or what the numbers are. It is certainly concerning.


4. If Congestion Pricing is going to mean more people trying to park why are they trying to eliminate parking spaces?


This is a key question. If parking is going to be more in demand then there should be a moratorium on the elimination of parking spaces. Proposing the elimination of parking for such frivolous uses that are detrimental to our neighbors and unnecessary is really part of an overall plan to make parking so expensive that it drives private cars out of NYC unless you are wealthy enough to afford a garage. Make no mistake this is the ultimate goal.


5. How are Upper West Side Residents actually using their cars and causing traffic?


Most UWS residents do not use their cars to commute into congested areas of the city or drive them around our neighborhood. In fact, the majority use them to leave the city for recreation mostly on weekends or vacations. This ability to leave has always been an important part of life in NYC. Those that do use their cars to commute are reverse commuting often to areas where mass transit is inaccessible. Many use their cars to visit and assist loved ones living in remote areas of the city that are not adequately served by mass transit. Many are used by artists, musicians, photographers and other creative residents that are responsible for bringing the UWS back and contribute to the rich fiber of our community.


30% of UWS households own cars. When you think about that number as parents, children and extended families, the further restriction and elimination of parking will negatively impact a very large number. That impact will be economic and social.



6. What is Residential Parking?


The basics of Residential Parking are simple. It provides a low or no cost sticker to area residents to allow them to park on the street in a specific zone such as the UWS. Parking not requiring stickers can also be designated for visitors, local workers and tradesmen. Residential Parking has been in effect for decades in many US cities such as Boston and Washington DC and is working right across the river in Hoboken.


Currently over 20% of the cars parked on the street are from out of state.


7. Isn’t it unfair that people get to park their private cars for free on the street?


Is it unfair that people who don’t have children fund public schools? Is it fair for a person who only commutes by bike pay taxes that fund Mass Transit? Is it fair for people that don’t ride bikes to fund bike lanes? etc etc. We all pay taxes for things that we don’t use. However, vehicle owners actually pay all types of taxes that not only fund the roads but also mass transit. Sales tax, gas tax, registration fees, inspection fees, and tolls all go to funding.

NYC has a rich culture of benefits that are free to residents from parks to libraries that are for the benefit of residents and that are taxpayer-funded. "Free Parking" does not cost taxpayers anything.


There is also the reality that many of our neighbors cannot afford to park in a garage. Many of our longtime residents are having a hard time remaining in a neighborhood they built as it is, due to the economic pressure. Why do we want to make it even harder for them?


8. Don’t they do this in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Seattle etc. Why not here?


It is important to understand that what works in other cities is not a good indicator as to what will work in NYC. All of us who live here recognize how unique NYC is. Europe has a very advanced rail and mass-transit system that makes owning or using a car not a necessity. The density and population of New York is much different than any of the cities that are held up as examples. Many of the US cities cited are much smaller and also have important infrastructure such as municipal garages. Most importantly, New Yorkers have a much different mindset and the city functions in a specific way.


9. What’s wrong with encouraging the use of bikes and mass transit. 


Nothing. In fact, many UWS residents who own cars bike and use Mass transit to get to work everyday!


10. Safety


Everyone is concerned with safety but the use of safety in service of the agenda of Transportation Alternatives at the expense and vilification of cars and their owners is cynical. While safety is a mantra against cars, traffic and now parking, it is forbidden to talk about just how dangerous cyclists are to themselves and to pedestrians. In fact, it is even forbidden to suggest that cyclists be required to wear helmets because safety is NOT the goal. The goal is the elimination of cars and anything that might hinder people from getting on a bike is bad even when The National Transportation Safety Board voted 3-0 to recommend helmet laws. Anyone who lives on the UWS has seen how dangerous the behavior of cyclists is.


11. Why is this being done on the Upper West Side?


Transportation Alternatives and other pro-bike anti-car groups have supporters on our community board’s transportation committee so they feel this is a friendly place to try and ram this through. They’re hoping that this then can be spread to other parts of the city. It is, in essence, a test case. The outcry from the neighborhood has helped to mitigate the initial resolution but it is not enough. We must organize to stand up to outside interests



12. What is Transportation Alternatives?


It is the radical well-funded pro bike lobbying group:


“Transportation Alternatives’ mission is to reclaim New York City's streets from the automobile. Transportation Alternatives believes that this public space belongs to the people of New York City, and we are working with New Yorkers in every borough to reclaim our streets."


13. Doesn’t curbside parking cause traffic?


No

14. Can't charging cars for curbside parking make mass transit free? 

The answer is NO. Despite the claims of anti-car activists that there are miles and acres of valuable space used by curbside parking if you crunch the numbers on the UWS it does not add up. Furthermore, if you make it so expensive and difficult to own a car in NYC that financial base will disappear eventually. It makes you wonder what the real goal is, perhaps it is the elimination of cars.

15. Does curbside parking make the streets unsafe?

No! In fact, the exact opposite is true. Curbside parking actually has a calming effect on traffic and slows it down. Imagine how fast cars might travel down side streets without cars parked along each side.

16. What about the impact of cars on the environment?

 

PLEASE JOIN US!

 

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