|Brad Lander - Daily News|
City Council members have come a long way from the days when a “windshield mentality” dominated that body, according to advocates who promote alternatives to automobiles. They have embraced Vision Zero—the de Blasio administration’s push to eliminate traffic fatalities, including a reduction in the citywide speed limit to 25 mph—and at a Crain’s Breakfast Forum last week, four members agreed that there’s a cost to having four free bridges spanning the East River.
But the quartet of council members—Brad Lander, Mark Levine, Jumaane Williams and Julissa Ferreras—were not ready to forsake their free parking spots next to City Hall.
Asked by the moderator, “Is it right that council members get free parking next to City Hall and if so, why do you deserve free parking more than the rest of us who try to get to work?” Mr. Williams replied, “The framing of the question deserves some kind of response.”
He then delivered one: “It would be very difficult for me perform my job as efficiently as I try to without [being able] to park, so I wish everybody had the ability to park as freely as some of us do, but essentially to do the job, you have to be able to park.”
Mr. Lander gave a nod to a former Brooklyn borough president in the audience who has spent much of his career driving around his home county. “Marty Markowitz is going to be so excited to hear me defend parking,” he began.
“I have supported many actions to make it more difficult, so I think it does need to be harder for New Yorkers to find free parking if we are going to move to a more sustainable city,” said Mr. Lander, whose district includes a section of Park Slope where surveys have shown half of all drivers are circling for parking.
“On the other hand,” he continued, “I don't know how I would get to the events that I try to get to without the car.”