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City Councilmember aims to help Washington Heights drivers find parking. Here's how

Residential parking proposal offers potential solution to future congestion pricing impacts
Residential parking proposal offers potential solution to future congestion pricing impacts 02:06

NEW YORK - A New York City Councilmember is proposing residential parking permits to help Washington Heights residents find a parking spot in their own neighborhood.

The future of congestion pricing remains uncertain, but this proposal aims to offer a solution to one of the impacts.

City Councilmember proposes parking permit program to help Washington Heights drivers

"This is a livable, walkable community, and parking is probably the number one issue we hear about when we walk down the street," said Washington Heights Council Member Carmen De La Rosa.

That is why she introduced the latest bill to launch a residential parking permit program, with the support of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, reserving up to 20% of spaces in designated neighborhoods, focusing on Uptown.

"This is an environmental justice community, so the idling doesn't help," furthered De La Rosa.

Making matters worse, she said, are all the commuters coming into the community.

"You're no longer competing with people that don't live in our community, that are coming in to park their private vehicles and take the A train or the 1 train," De La Rosa said about her solution.

"There's one hitch," Levine added. "The state has to give us permission … but we want the power in the five boroughs to bring some order to the chaos on our residential streets."

Levine said the revenue generated from residents could be used on the neighborhood's parks and streets, and could be replicated in other areas. 

The proposal is currently under consideration by the City Council's transportation committee, but will ultimately require state approval to take effect.

Washington Heights drivers saying finding parking takes hours

"A lot of times it will take me like two hours, as long as two hours to find parking," said Randy Grullon from the driver's seat of his car as he waited for the street sweeper to pass in Washington Heights.

Creative Washington Heights natives come up with their own coping mechanisms for the nightmare of trying to find parking close to home -- like purchasing a compact Smart Car.

"I have two," said a man standing outside his Smart Car. "That one holds my parking when I move the other one."

"Sometimes you take one hour," lamented Ramon Nunez, "and you no found the parking meter. You no find nothing."

Some neighbors remain skeptical of any potential solutions.

"I don't know what they're going to do," said Grullon. "Moving the outdoor dining still hasn't really made anything better, because you have these people holding parking for other people as well."

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