Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg’s cuts

Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg's cuts

Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg's cuts

Y ERIN EINHORN
DAILY NEWS CITYB HALL BUREAU

Monday, January 26th 2009, 4:00 AM
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Mayor Bloomberg said last year he’d crack down on elected officials who have designated parking spaces for themselves or their staffs outside their offices, but some pols still have the perk.

Mayor Bloomberg yanked free parking spots from a handful of elected officials last year – but borough presidents, the city controller and other pols still enjoy the perk, the Daily News found.

Bloomberg ordered the crackdown after the Daily News reported exclusively last summer that four City Council members had signs outside their district offices reserving spaces for “Council Vehicles.”

But city officials decided to leave in place nearly 200 spaces near City Hall and borough offices for borough presidents, the city controller and state officials like the governor and attorney general.

“We eliminated unnecessary parking privileges for elected officials’ offices, retaining spaces only at municipal hubs that have a high number of employees conducting official business,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement.

The explanation didn’t sit right with advocates who rail against the impact of cars on city streets.

“Frequently, the major government hubs are also major transit hubs,” said Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that’s done studies showing city employees are more likely to drive to work than private employees.

“It’s an indefensible perk for a preferred few.”

Some pols lost the parking perk, including Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens) and Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan); Councilwoman Helen Foster (D-Bronx), and Councilmen Al Vann and David Yassky, both Brooklyn Democrats.

Most of the spaces were installed before the current officeholders were elected.

“It’s not something she lobbied for,” said spokesman Dan Andrews of the 31 spots reserved for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall near her Kew Gardens office. “If you get elected and the spot is here, you may as well use it.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, whose office has 12 spaces in downtown Brooklyn, said his staff needs the spaces to access the sprawling borough.

Other pols disputed the city’s count of parking spaces.

A spokesman for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said his office gets only seven spaces for hundreds of investigators (the city puts the number of spaces at 13).

A spokeswoman for state Controller Thomas DiNapoli said the controller didn’t even know about the four spots in lower Manhattan that are a relic from before the controller’s office moved to midtown.

City Controller William Thompson, a mayoral hopeful, says he has far fewer than the 26spots the city claims are setaside for his staff and suggested that politics are behind the discrepancy.

“The material you received from Mayor Bloomberg’s administration is clearly wrong and one could easily question the motive,” Thompson spokesman Jeff Simmons said.

Thompson himself parks off the street in a spot reserved for him at the Municipal Building.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also have off-street spaces adjacent to that building.

eeinhorn@nydailynews.com

With Rachel Monahan

New York Daily News

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