We told you so.
Thousands of Brooklyn residents can now confirm that the Barclay's Center has indeed impacted our lives -- often far too literally. Cars speed through our side streets, causing traffic and accidents, not to mention a complete absence of parking spaces. The empty promises that fans would ride the rails are now broken promises. And with the Islanders coming to the Slug this fall, we're bracing for the worst.
There's an easy solution to this problem, but, this being New York, it's very difficult to get to that easy solution.
The obvious answer is what every other neighborhood in this situation has done: issue residential parking permits. Take a drive anywhere near Fenway Park in Boston, for example, and once you hit the residential areas, you won't see what Park Slope looks like on Nets game nights; you'll see quiet streets with plenty of parking for residents. That's because to park on those streets, you need a residential permit.
The affected parts of Brooklyn should have the same system. Go to the DMV -- conveniently, right across from Barclay's Center -- and bring a utility bill and your vehicle registration. Pay 25 bucks. Get a sticker that's non-transferable, tied to your license plate. Affix sticker. Problem solved. No more parking lock-outs, but much more importantly, no more fans speeding through our streets, desperate for a spot.
Best of all, the system would pay for itself, through registration fees, and would generate revenue for the city in the form of tickets issued to violators. This would be a cash-positive solution.
Moreover, New York City Councilmember Brad Lander, whose district includes the Slug, has called for just such a program. So have State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman. So why hasn't it been implemented?
Albany. Unfortunately, while the NYC Department of Transportation conducted a study for a residential parking program, and the City Council passed a Home Rule Message authorizing one, the actual approval for such a program would have to be at the state level. And, surprise surprise, the state legislature is doing nothing.
Nor are they likely to. Think about it: where are all those cars coming from? Other districts, of course. And it's hard to see those districts' representatives voting for a plan that would limit their constituents' freedom to see Barbra Streisand or Justin Bieber without having to, gasp, take a train.
So, as usual, New York City is the economic engine for the state but is hamstrung by a state legislature that could care less about its wellbeing.
Time for some action. If the state won't act to save Park Slope's children from being hit by speeding cars, the city should. Traffic cops should be out in force in our neighborhood and ticketing anyone who goes a mile over the speed limit on concert and game nights. The mayoral candidates should all sign on to the program, and use their leverage to trade whatever horses are needed to pass it. And we should all sign the rather moribund online petition to institute such a program.
I don't know if any of these steps will actually work. And I know that common sense solutions are extremely uncommon in our fair state. But even though this is Brooklyn, I'm not just going to sit and kvetch about it. Can we fix this, please?