LETTER: The Never-Ending Fight For Parking

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:14

I tried the impossible last Sunday: finding a free parking space near the World Trade Center.

After looking for about 25 minutes, I spotted one on a one-way street but had to go around the block to get to it. By the time I got there, a man was standing in that space, illegally "holding" it for a friend. I told him to get out because that's illegal; the first CAR to arrive is entitled to the spot. He refused.

I told him I was going to call 911 and did so. But when the 911 operator asked me where the dispute was, I was unable to tell her because THERE WERE NO STREET SIGNS ON THAT INTERSECTION!!

Meanwhile, a van showed up ready to claim his "reserved" space, which I had blocked with my car. The driver at first begged me to give it up because he had kids in the car; I said, first come, first served, and told him police were on the way. e then screamed vicious, obscene insults at me and drove away with his friend. I took my spot, but stayed there a while to make sure he didn't come back and vandalize my car.

There are at least three lessons here for city government:

1. You have, under the last mayor, outrageously betrayed the rights of car-owners by eliminating free parking for the benefit of schools, churches, and especially for Citibike racks, by the thousands, thus encouraging angry jousting for the remaining few free spots.

2. By not informing drivers that it is illegal to stand in a parking space or "reserve" it [by putting cones, chairs or other objects there], you have made drivers like me into "pseudo-cops", as I was that day. Not surprisingly, I was unable to win the argument by simply citing the law. You could attach signs to lampposts explaining this law, as you do with thousands of other signs, and it wouldn't take more than a few hundred to do that.

3. Probably most outrageous, when I called the police to report trouble, I was unable to do so because there were no street signs, neither north-south nor east-west. I want an investigation made into this and any other street corners without street signs. Such places are a big danger to anyone who is stalked, attacked or threatened on the streets of NYC.

J.B., E. 89th Street