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Councilman Vincent Gentile Proposes a Bill to Restore Free Parking for Board Chairs

Spot save! Councilman Gentile pushes for free parking for panel chairs

The Brooklyn Paper

Councilman Vincent Gentile is gearing up for a head-on collision with the mayor over parking permits for community board chairs — questioning hizzoner’s grip on reality — and civilian parking advocates are on the Bay Ridge pol’s side!

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) has a bill that would require the city to issue three-hour free-parking placards for the volunteer civic leaders, after hizzoner decided to tow away the long-standing privilege in January — and the city councilman’s proposal is already gaining support from unexpected corners.

Gentile argued that local board chairs deserve the right to park at any metered space for up to three hours, free of charge, because they donate their time to resolve community problems and receive no other compensation — and he scoffed at Bloomberg’s decision to nix the perk as absurd.

“There’s a lot of demands on their time, and they’re all volunteers, and their parking permit is a way of saying ‘thank you,’ ” said Gentile. “Taking it doesn’t make any rational sense. Maybe the mayor isn’t rational.”

The mayor’s office declined to comment on Gentile’s legislation and remarks, but noted that the repeal of permits for board chairs is part of a larger plan to reduce special parking placards citywide, which hizzoner hopes will ease pinched parking and encourage use of trains and buses.

“A reduction in placards isn’t just about opening up curbside parking spaces,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in 2008. “It also speaks to the City’s efforts to be smarter about the allocation of our transportation resources.”

But Gentile said this plan reflects the mayor’s Manhattan-centric worldview, since public transportation options are sparse in areas like southern Brooklyn.

“The Mayor’s statement clearly shows he has no concept of reality in the outer boroughs,” said Gentile.

And residents known for battling for a spot to leave their car are backing up Gentile’s bill. Louis Camporeale — also known as the Parking Pal, whose website helps motorists avoid tickets — said he believes panel chairs should get a pass to help them with their community work, though with daytime-only restrictions to avoid abuses.

“If you’re performing duties and not being compensated for it, there should be some leniency in parking involved,” said Camporeale, who left Bay Ridge for Gravesend because of the lack of places to put his car.

And Stan Lubowicki, who fought to get rid of a space-eating loading zone at 93rd Street and Fourth Avenue, said everyone benefits from the board chair’s perk.

“It enables them to be more productive, and spend more time working instead of finding a free parking space,” said Lubowicki.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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Reader Feedback

Rob from Greenpoint says:
"They may take our parking permits, but they will never take our freedom! aaaarrrrgh!"

Lame.

Gentile, please focus on some real issues, not on parking welfare for the over-privileged.
Feb. 1, 2013, 6:12 am
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
How about we provide them free use of a bicycle while they're serving as board chairs? This obsession with free parking is ridiculous.
Feb. 1, 2013, 6:19 am
ty from pps says:
What about the volunteers that don't drive? What sort of "thank you" is Gentile planning on including in the legislation for them?

What a douche.
Feb. 1, 2013, 10:20 am
Stu from Sunset Park says:
Make them search and pay for parking on their own. Then they might actually identify with the people in their communities they're supposed to represent.
Feb. 1, 2013, 10:29 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
What a terrible and disappointing reaction.
Feb. 1, 2013, 10:39 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
For the love of God Vinny, come back to reality. Is this issue worth picking a fight with Bloomberg? Vinny there's a reason that you are ineffective in securing funding for the communities you purport to represent. You pick idiotic fights on issues that are either meaningless or relatively unimportant. Case in point is R train service. The R train is underfunded, runs too infrequently, is often taken out of service at night for "track work", and is usually late. N train service was turned back into a local in Manhattan, which also hurts commuting time for Bay Ridge residents. Yet Vinny the wonder boy concentrates on things like fighting to restore weekend express bus service, which is "used" by a handful of people (one empty bus after another) and parking permits for a few community board members. Useless cannot begin to describe Gentile. R train service is issue numbers 1, 2 and 3 for Bay Ridge, with the N train as issue numbers 4 and 5. Poor train service negatively affects quality of life and property values. Yet year after year Gentile spends his time on useless nonsense.
Feb. 1, 2013, 1:19 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about something even better? No free parking for anyone who works in the city government or council. The same should go for emergency workers and politicians, especially Bloomberg himself. Why should they get something whenever they want it, when the rest just can't. Many of those who get parking permits or placards tend to abuse them by parking where even they can't, but constantly get away with it thanks to having friends in high places. As for the subway, that has to be taken up with the MTA, not the city, plus they are state-owned, not city-owned. If any board members want to talk about those that are parking illegally, they should start with themselves.
Feb. 1, 2013, 4:26 pm
Gary says:
Hey "John from Bay Ridge", call Marty Golden and —— about the subway service. The State holds the purse-strings there, not the City.

Bloomberg looking to revoke 59 parking passes is crazy. Is our City really that hard up that we're revoking 59 measly parking passes?

I used to be the Chairman of a Community Board so I speak from experience: It's not easy. It's ALOT of work - on top of my regular 9 to 5 job. It's the one single perk of an otherwise thankless and unpaid civil servant position.
Feb. 1, 2013, 11:58 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
bfd parking passes - for years i left my car for the winter in a metro north station for FREE - now you have to pay say I still park it a few months but i get an employee subsidy and a tax deferment. what a country

mazel tov
Feb. 2, 2013, 2:24 pm
Top from Brooklyn says:
I'm on a community board and am able to get to my meetings and around the community without free parking. If I can do it, so can these people.
Feb. 2, 2013, 6:01 pm
Linda from Bay Ridge says:
While every one is talking about parking in Bayridge I would like to see the community Board put up more signs for Dog walkers. One have to do Hop Scotch around dog pop on most of the streets in the community. What have happen to the laws for cleaning up after one dog or dogs. What has happened to a once very clean community.
Feb. 2, 2013, 8:56 pm
Joey from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn says:
A real non issue. Smart move Vinny to pick another fight over nonsense with the mayor so we get nothing.
Look for a spot like everyone, oh poor baby. Out of touch as usual
Feb. 3, 2013, 4:01 pm
Joey from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn says:
If this is what Gentile thinks is the biggest problem in the neighborhood, he should really talk with people
Feb. 3, 2013, 6:28 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Gary, I do call out Marty Golden about the lack of attention to poor R and N train service, but this article is about Vinny, not Marty. And if you think that the City government, and a City Councilman, has no say in mass transit issues you're sadly mistaken. Gentile has repeatedly addressed mass transit "issues"; he just picks the unimportant ones. Gentile is a one trick pony on city bus issues, but misses the point that the biggest problem facing Bay Ridge is poor R and N service. Gentile gets very little done that is useful is the bottom line.

I can't agree with you on the parking permit issue either> Personnally I'd have revoked them all a long time ago. Your arhuement in favor of them doesn't even attempt to justify them. You resort instead to a "what's the harm, its only a few permits approach". I ask what's the benefit for this special privilege?
Feb. 4, 2013, 1:12 pm
Jo-Jo from Bay Ridge says:
There is a fleet of NYPD-Traffic tow trucks every morning in Bay Ridge,writing false tickets and swooping up cars. You pay $185 for the tow which is refunded when you fight the violation in court. That is a day wasted. This is outrageous. This is an issue.
Feb. 9, 2013, 5:44 pm

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