Don’t fear the sweeper: Are we finally going to see an end to alternate-side-of-the-street parking in NYC?

If councilman Ydanis Rodriguez gets his way, New Yorkers with cars are going have it a little easier



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Photograph: iStockphoto

If there’s one thing New York drivers fear more than finding a rat’s nest in their engine, it’s the horrors of alternate-side-of-the-street parking. For nondrivers, this is a hilarious weekly event that sees panicked car owners rush from their apartments and attempt to park their car on the other side of the street (or, more realistically, attempt to park within ten blocks of their original parking space) in order to let the street cleaner come through. For people with cars, it’s a hellish weekly ordeal that has probably caused more divorces than the wait for a table at Ippudo.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez—a former cabdriver—wants to put a stop to all that. Well, sort of: Under his proposed bill, people will still have to move their cars, but rather than move to a new spot entirely, Rodriguez’s plan is to let people get their vehicle out of the cleaner’s path, then immediately zoom back into their spot. So, it’s still a pain in the butt, but not as bad of a pain in the butt as previously (hey, it’s New York—we’ll take what we can get). 

Another facet of the proposal (which was first introduced in 2010, but failed to go anywhere) would be that it prevents drivers from getting a ticket while idling at the curb, waiting for the cleaner. Unfortunately, that leads us on to why the bill will probably fail again: According to this piece at the Daily News, the city made $70 million from 1.2 million alternate-side summonses just last year, so it seem unlikely they’d want to do anything to effect that sweet, sweet parking ticket cash flow. In other words, don’t toss out your MetroCard just yet.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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