Bill will reduce alternate side parking rules

Constantly moving personal vehicles from one side of the street to the other to avoid a carefully-placed orange envelope tucked between windshield and wiper has been frustrating city commuters for ages.

City Councilmembers took an important step toward easing that burden by passing a bill regarding the reduction in street cleaning and alternate-side parking (ASP) rules for certain community districts. As the bill states, a local community board could reduce street cleaning to once a week if the community maintains a 90 percent cleanliness rating for two consecutive years.

According to the proposal, the city has 59 sanitation districts that are divided up into 234 smaller sections to facilitate coordination of services. In total, the Department of Sanitation schedules 46,000 street cleaning routes to accommodate the roughly 6,000 linear miles of streets in the city. ASP rules are in effect in 54 of the 59 community districts. Since 1975, the Mayor’s Office of Operations has been tasked with inspecting the city’s streets and sidewalks to measure and report on the cleanliness through a point-scale based program called Scorecard. For the fifth consecutive year, the citywide annual Scorecard acceptability average has surpassed 90 percent in all five boroughs.

“Parking is at a premium in northeast Queens, and this will add valuable parking spots and reduce ticketing,” said a spokesperson for Councilmember Dan Halloran. “More spots means less traffic, since many of the main thoroughfares in northeast Queens, such as Bell Boulevard and Francis Lewis, are clogged by commuters trying to find parking spaces near the LIRR stations.”

“This is what certain communities have wanted for a long time,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who mentioned his own personal frustrations with ASP rules when he lived on 77th Street and Ditmars Avenue. “Nobody is saying the streets shouldn’t be clean but the community boards know better than anyone else.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign off on the bill later this month, according to his office.

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