Boro Parkers seeking to park their cars on early Friday afternoons before heading to shul for Kabbalas Shabbos will have one less thing to worry about: ticketing for not feeding the meters.
The New York City Department of Transportation announced Monday that Friday metered parking regulations will be modified on two more major thoroughfares — 13th and 18th Avenues — to allow up to four hours of pre-paying. The changes, which will go into effect in a few weeks, build upon a pilot program on 16th Ave.
For some winter weeks, when Shabbos begins as early as 4:10 p.m., feeding the meters the maximum of two hours ahead of time still does not encompass the 7:00 p.m. time when the regulations end. After a Hamodia article in 2011 drawing attention to the problem, the city began a program on 16th Ave. to allow pre-paying up to four hours.
This will now be expanded to 13th and 18th Avenues as well, according to a press release by Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Councilman David Greenfield, who said they were “thrilled.”
But not everyone was excited with the news. Several residents of Boro Park say that since there is little traffic on Friday afternoons, there is no logic to have to pay for parking.
“The meters still need to be paid until 7 p.m. — which is unfair,” said Yisroel Werdyger, a popular singer and a Hamodia editor who parks near his shul on 18th Avenue every Friday. “The meter rules shouldn’t be in effect after the zman at these locations.”
“Meters are designed for the benefit of the stores, it’s for that reason that it’s only on commercial blocks,” argued Dovid Shor, who davens in a shul on 16th Avenue. “When 99 percent of stores are closed, there’s simply no rationale for metered parking.”
Moshe Gold, a former Boro Park resident who lives in Monsey, agreed.
“The meters are there to make sure that people don’t park there all day and not leave parking spaces for shoppers,” Gold said. “But in the heimishe areas, on Friday after 4 p.m. and on Yamim Tovim, all stores are anyways closed, so there is no reason for meters.”
Gold’s brother, Ephraim Gold, added that Fridays in Boro Park should be treated like Sunday, when parking regulations on not in effect — “just like there are no meters on Sunday [and] Shabbos is even worse.”
But the respondents said that the new rules are “a good step in the right direction,” as Shor put it. “It’s not a cure, it’s a band-aid,” said Moshe Gold.
According to Hikind, more than 90 percent of businesses on 13th and 18th Avenues close several hours before the onset of Shabbos.
A 2011 by-the-book enforcement of meter rules angered residents of this majority Shomer Shabbos area. Elected officials responded by promising to propose legislation to ban the practice, modify the meters to allow longer-term payment or arrange an understanding with the police.
In the end, the long-term meter feeding plan worked out.
“I’ve worked on this for over five years!” Greenfield on Monday declared on Twitter. “Today we finally got it done in Boro Park. Next up: Midwood!”