Stop the Half-Spot Hoarder Tyanny!

Forget Babyccinos and bike lanes.  In today’s Brooklyn Paper I finally found a Park Slope controversy I can really sink my teeth into- The Montgomery Place Half-Spot Hoarders!

We’ve all been there, driving in concentric circles, looking for a spot. Up ahead you see what looks like a spot, but like a mirage it disappears as you get closer.  It’s the dreaded half-spot, not big-enough for a car, but an incredible waste of parking real estate.

Apparently at the doormen at 27 Prospect Park West, who park the cars for its tenants, intentionally create un-parkable “half spaces” on Montgomery Place to save spots.  So when a resident drives up, move one car forward and one care backward, and viola, a space appears out of thin air.

As someone who takes his parking very seriously, this kind of behavior infuriates me.  Technically it’s not illegal, but it should be, and a felony at that! Trust me if Dante had a car in Park Slope, he would have reserved a special circle in hell for the half-spot hoarder, right between the blasphemers and the sodomites.

After finding out about this parking fraud, I swallowed my bile in my throat, calmed down and decided to see if it was true.  A quick look at street view on Google maps showed an extraordinarily large amount of “half-spots.”

I urge everyone with SmartCars, Minis, scooters, rickshaws and any vehicle small enough for a half-spot, and park on Montgomery Place. This spot tyranny will not stand. It’s time to take back our spots!

The Parking-Savant on Residential Parking Permits

Have you ever complained about how cold it was only to be rebuffed by a friend from the mid-west or upstate who would say something like, “This is nothing, 20 degrees is a warm spring day in St Paul”?  Well, when it came to finding a parking in spot in Park Slope, I was the guy from St. Paul.

After college I lived in Hoboken for a few of years, and I can say with complete honesty, finding a parking spot in Park Slope is a piece of cake compared to getting a legal spot in Hoboken.  The average search time there was 45 minutes, and that wasn’t just looking for the “dream spot” in front of your building, your search radius had to be at least 10 blocks if you realistically wanted to find a space. Circling for 90 minutes was not unusual in the Mile Square City.

I don’t bring this up to say that The Slope has it easy on the parking front, we don’t. Parking here bites.  But I mention it because of recent talk about Brooklyn getting residential parking permits.  Parking has always been bad here but this is being discussed now because people are concerned about the influx of cars to the new Barclay’s Center. With residential parking permits, local residents would pay a yearly fee, and parking spaces would be allotted as resident parking only.

It looks good on paper, but Hoboken had residential parking, and it didn’t help at all.

I’m not entirely opposed to a residential parking permits, but I doubt they will be a panacea for the parking problem in Park Slope. The truth is there are more cars than there are spots, so there is now magic bullet to fix the problem.  But since I consider myself a parking-savant, I’ll propose my ideas on what could be done, long-term and short-term, to ease the parking burden.

More to come.

Hunting for Spots

Interesting post on Brokelyn about  finding free parking in Brooklyn, and other apps and tools to find spots (and how to get out of parking tickets.)  Unfortunately they did not mention the awesome map on Brooklyn.com that has a Google map of Park Slope that shows which day and which side of the street has alternate site parking. Between that map (which I’ve pretty much memorized) and the Twitter @NYCASP I’m usually ready for the hunt.

I spend way to much time looking for parking, and I often consider that it is not worth having a car in the city, the convenience it offers really doesn’t equal the aggravation it causes.

But I’m a little obsessed with parking. I get a perverse thrill looking for a spot.  In addition to it being one of the few times I get some solitude, I get a real adrenaline rush when I squeeze into a spot that I know others have passed because they thought it was too small. I know there are others hunting for spots, and there are not enough empty spaces for everyone, so every edge counts.

When to look for a spot- morning or night?
I prefer evening. There is more pressure in the morning to find a spot before work, and it creates a lot of aggression from other drivers. Also I’ve found that there is less competition in the evenings, the search time is spread out over a longer period.

What is the best weekday to look for a spot?
If you are lucky to get a Friday spot, then Thursday night is the best, the largest inventory of spots are available where you wont have to move it again until after the weekend.

What is the worst weekday to look for a spot?
Monday night is terrible.  Unless you want to move your car again that week, you only have Monday spots available, and people with Tuesday-Friday spots probably aren’t moving from their space until they need to.  Mondays are brutal, expect 30 minutes minimum for find a Monday spot.

Tip 1: Know where the fire hydrants are. Don’t waste time slowing down for a non-spot. Nothing is more annoying as a guy in front of you who slows down at every pump, “Is this a spot? No.  Is this a spot? No.”  Yr killing me!

Tip 2: Know how big you car is, dont waste time trying to get in a spot you dont fit in, and NEVER pass up a space that you think is just a bit too small.   You can get into a spot that is only 6 inches longer than your car, it takes patience, but it can be done. I’ve gotten into spots with only 2 inches from the cars in front and behind me.

What is your parking technique? Do you keep circling back looking for the nearest “dream spot” hoping someone will pull out or when the “dream spot” isn’t available, cut your losses and widen the search area?

How often do you get your “dream spot”?

How long will you look for a spot before giving up and taking a spot that you’ll need to move again in a day or two?

Do you call it s spot or a space?