Parking perks placards on Council menu for community board chairs

They want their parking perks back —and a proposed city law is backing them up.

Community Board chairpeople mourning the loss of their precious parking placards during the Bloomberg years are wheel excited about a proposed city law that would restore their right to free reign on commercial streets.

“We need a way to get around to meetings and events,” complained Father Richard Gorman, chairman of Community Board 12, which encompasses an area stretching from Woodlawn to Eastchester. “In my district, public transit is nearly non-existent. Why should I have to pay for parking, or look for a spot, when I could be at the meeting already?”

Meter headache

Tony Vitaliano, chairman of Community Board 11, said he’s spent less time in his district office right off the commercial Morris Park Avenue since being stripped of his placard.

“It’s frustrating to have to duck out every few minutes and feed the meter,” he said. “We’re already unpaid volunteers: you’d think that that we deserve some respect.”

The city yanked the placards in early 2013 —a decision Gorman called an act of retribution for community boards’ often chilly reception to the massive bike-lane changes engineered by Bloomberg and his Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

“It was mean-spirited,” he groused. “A lot of boards were going against them on the bike lanes, and taking away our placards was a vengeful act.”

Pols defend CBs

Under the proposed law, introduced by Councilman Vincent Gentile of South Brooklyn, each of the city’s 59 chairpeople would be able to opt into the same perks that all of the city’s elected officials get. Displayed on their dashboard, the placard exempts them from paying parking meters for up to three hours.

The pols backing the bill say restoring the placards is a small price to pay to support the local leaders tasked with representing their local neighborhoods on a myriad of issues, from litter to land use changes.

“It would be an unnecessary hardship on these volunteers to expect them to adequately perform their duties without the use of a parking permit,” said Gentile.

“When you’re doing the job right, you deserve to be treated with the same respect as elected officials, “ added Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres, who is co-sponsoring the bill. “When you’re traveling to a City Council hearing at City Hall, for example, you need a placard to facilitate that.”

Meanwhile, chairpeople who don’t drive in the first place would see no changes under the proposed bill —though one advocate for public transport suggested that chairpeople who cycle or take the train should see perks as well.

“How about giving chairs the choice between a Citi Bike membership, a parking placard, or a monthly Metro Card?” said Noah Budnick, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates for better ways of getting around without a car.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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