Angry truck drivers. Petty alternate-side parking antics. Neighbors turning on neighbors.
New Yorkers have been driving themselves dizzy trying to park in the city. Not only did car ownership jump, but changes made to the streets during the pandemic have cut down on precious parking spots.
Parking in the city was never easy, but now some fed-up car owners are calling it war. How did it get this way?
The competition for parking increased when car ownership soared and the use of mass transit dropped during the pandemic, an occurrence otherwise known as Carmageddon.
In Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, the number of vehicles registered between August and October increased by 37 percent compared with the same period the previous year, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Outdoor dining, which was made permanent in September, also took up roughly 10,000 parking spots, and people who drove away for the summer have returned.
The debate over how New York City should allocate its 6,000 miles of streets is nothing new, though the pandemic has reinvigorated the issue.
Car owners have long complained of valuable space being used for new bike lanes, bus lanes and docks for the city’s bike share program. Mass transit advocates and cyclists have said that the city needs to shift priorities away from car culture and reimagine its streets.
“If you want to complain about losing a few parking spots on your block, I’m sorry for your inconvenience, but our entire city benefits when you give streets back to people,”
said Danny Harris, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives.
The lack of parking has stoked tension in neighborhoods and made some drivers desperate. Noreen O’Donnell, of Brooklyn, circled around for an hour one night looking for spot. She gave up at around midnight and parked illegally outside of a school.
Anthony Fauci, another Brooklyn resident (and unrelated to that other Anthony Fauci), told my colleague Christina Goldbaum that some neighbors have used orange cones to save parking spots. In response, he has moved the cones so he could park, though he worried someone may slash his tires.
After the street sweepers pass, he said, residents throw parking etiquette to the wind and swoop in to nab any spot they can, instead of allowing drivers to reclaim their spots.
“There are going to be wars,”
Mr. Fauci said.