For the first time in decades, there has been a major rule change regarding New York City's alternate side parking, and some aren't so the change is for the best.
With the exception of one week in May, alternate side parking had been suspended in the city amid the coronavirus pandemic, meaning drivers didn't have to move their cars for street cleanings for months. That is now coming to an end, but the city isn't going back to the previous system quite yet.
Sanitation crews will only go through residential areas once a week, meaning there should only be one time a week where those with cars will have to find a new spot. NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said that if a street sign only has one day listed, then the cleaning will happen on that day; but if it has two days (such Monday and Thursday, for example), crews will only come on one of the days (in that example, Thursday).
The department said the rules only affect residential side streets, not metered parking. And while they know that city residents may have enjoyed not having to deal with that responsibility, more people moving about means the roads need cleaning.
"During the height of the pandemic, New Yorkers were able to keep the streets very clean. But at this point, we know we have a lot more movement, we don't want the streets to degrade," said Garcia.
However, it's not welcome news to some, especially considering other changes the city has recently made. In places like the West Village and Lower East Side, where residents say parking is hard enough in normal times, it's now even more challenging due to restaurants taking up more spots for outdoor dining.
"People have to know what the day is, that's number one," said resident Louie Porcelli. Number two is, because of all this (the tables on the street), even if it's one day, it's just impossible to get a parking spot."
Porcelli also wondered how street sweepers will clean around outdoor dining tables, saying they'll have to go around and not be able to clean the streets anyway.
The new alternate side parking rules can be expected to last through the summer. The Department of Sanitation said it wants to hear from New Yorkers on how the changes are working, with a goal of keeping streets clean without being a burden.