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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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