每日英語跟讀 Ep.K062: The Fight Over Parking in New York Is ‘Like the Hunger Games’
Last spring, as the pandemic engulfed New York City, people dealt with shortages of basic goods like toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer. But a surge in car sales — propelled in part by people leery of public transit — has created a new pandemic-induced shortage: parking spaces.
Across New York, drivers complain that free street parking has become increasingly scarce after people who drove away for the summer returned, outdoor dining took over roughly 10,000 parking spaces, and car ownership soared.
The alternative is often to take up an illegal spot — and risk getting a ticket that can amount to roughly $100 — or use a private garage, which is equally costly. Garage fees in Manhattan can run $400 a month or much more.
Advocacy groups for mass transit and bicyclists don’t offer much sympathy. They say the pandemic has underscored the need to shift priorities over who has claim to the streetscape.
In Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, the number of vehicles registered between August and October jumped 37% compared with the same period the previous year, according to data from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The spike was starkest in Manhattan, where registrations
rose by 76%, and in Brooklyn, where they increased by 45%.
The fight over parking spaces reflects what in recent years has become a contentious debate over how to allocate New York’s 6,000 miles of city streets and its millions of free parking spots in a crowded urban setting where bikers and pedestrians are demanding more space.
That competition has become even more fierce as the pandemic ushered in a re-imagining of the city’s landscape, with restaurant tables occupying pavements and streets closed off entirely to cars on weekends to allow outdoor life to flourish.
As a result, drivers say parking in residential neighborhoods has become untenable, akin to a high-stakes game of musical chairs in which age-old, unspoken rules of decency have been discarded and a sense of lawlessness has set in.
“There are going to be wars,” said Anthony Fauci, 53, a Brooklyn resident who uses his car primarily to take his 13-year-old son — and his large bags of gear — to hockey practice in Long Island City, Queens.
While parking is never easy, in the past few months it has become nearly impossible, stoking tensions among neighbors.
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5219145
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