Neighbors swap parking permits with students | The Riverdale Press
By STACY DRIKS
At least 50 residents around Manhattan College will have to find another place to park on Aug. 1, as spaces in the Broadway garage are reserved for students and faculty.
As part of an agreement made years ago, Manhattan College provided free parking for area residents. The garage has over 600 spaces for eligible students, faculty and residents who have valid parking permits.
But all of that will change for residents, according to a recent email from the University Channel.
“Manhattan College regrets to announce that due to increased parking needs at our campus, we can no longer support parking for non-students or non-employees, and therefore the community parking program is discontinued,” the Department of Public Safety wrote to 50 members on a chain message in early March.
In response to the email, residents who have these parking permits were not only shocked, they were furious. The group went so far as to suggest contacting Congressman Jeffrey Dinowitz and his son, City Councilman Eric Dinowitz for help.
The email chain was full of angry and dissatisfied people without a clearer understanding of the college’s reasoning.
A resident claimed his children couldn’t participate in sports during the summer because once the car pulled out of a legal spot, a lucky person switched places a second later.
Coming home is a disaster for her – which may be no later than 5 p.m.
Picking up and dropping off children or carpooling didn’t seem like an option, she said.
The college listened to residents by giving them an additional month of free parking in the Broadway garage. The original date was July 1.
The college understood that this would be a temporary condition which they carried for several years. Pete McHugh, director of media relations and strategic communications, said The Riverdale Press.
“Students, faculty and staff who have been driving around since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the number of on-campus parking spaces being used by these groups,” McHugh said.
The residential parking program started was originally temporary in 2011 during the construction of the Kelly Commons building on Waldo Avenue. Back then the construction area occupied 20 parking spaces.
At the time, the college was cooperating with residents trying to align a good code of faith with their neighbors. Officials agreed to a community council meeting a year later in 2012.
As a result of the meeting, residents of the community were granted free public parking in the Broadway Garage for people living in ZIP Codes 10471 and 10463 during construction at the time.
Recently, the school has been informed by students and teachers that the lack of sufficient parking spaces has caused many people to show up late to class.
“It’s just a huge benefit for the community – like working on something, it’s good for them to continue to help the community a bit,” said Sophie Shao, a resident who has used the garage for six years.
Shao has a convenient three-minute walk to get to the house. She lives up the hill from the garage on Broadway. She says it would take her 30 to 45 minutes to find a parking space if the college cannot find a solution.
Shao said she hoped there was some wiggle room because the thought of parking on the streets and other drivers next to her looking to park — it became a race.
Shao said it is a good thing that many students are attending the college as it gives a different atmosphere to the community, but it makes the area very busy than before the pandemic.
Shao lives in a 90-year-old building that does not include an underground garage. Next to Shao’s apartment, another building is under construction. If it does not include a garage, it will be even more complicated for it to park.
Manhattan College provides student parking in four areas around campus that are shared with faculty, while one is strictly for students with valid permits.
In the past, the Broadway garage “had like a basement, like a ground floor where you were assigned a spot,” Shao said.
The college moved permit holders to the fourth and fifth grades without allocating specific places for the past year.
The college’s official parking website states that “the college reserves the right to limit or terminate parking privileges at any time.”
“We will continue to find ways to maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors as we seek to meet the needs of our students and faculty,” McHugh said.
“I looked for paid options. I think that’s what my neighbor was suggesting,” Shao said, “We can, you know, it doesn’t just become the free community parking lot, just because there’s so much parking.
Drivers have the option of parking for free on the street or switching to a variety of other garages in other areas – for a fee.
On Irwin Avenue there is a parking garage that consists of 150 parking spaces that collect money when you exit.
Around the block is another garage that offers the same payment process near Ewen Park.