MV City Council Passes Parking Reform Legislation To Ease Restrictions

South Seventh Avenue after midnight on a Monday night [Black Westchester]

Mount Vernon – The Mount Vernon City Council passed parking reform legislation, Wednesday, May 22nd, designed to reduce rush-hour congestion and to increase the quality of life by extending alternate side parking deadlines to 9:00 A.M.  The legislation passed by a vote of 4-to-1, in the second regularly scheduled City Council Meeting in the month of May 2019.

“I’ve been advocating for this legislation for two years,” City Council President André Wallace tells Black Westchester. “I would like to thank the members of the City Council for their assistance in helping to bring this legislation across the finish line. Our citizens have been asking for common sense reform to ease these restrictions, and I’m finally happy to be able to deliver it. With so many bridges closed for so long, traffic is a huge problem, and if we can help reduce it and, in the process, give people some more flexibility in the morning, it will make a big difference.”

Councilwoman Janice Duarte, the one council member to vote against the legislation says she is concerned the new legislation could result in a loss of revenue for the city.

“I hope the legislation adopted to modify street cleaning hours will improve the quality of life for the residents of Mount Vernon,” Councilwoman Duarte tells Black Westchester. “In practice, the fiscal impact of this legislation was not examined, including the loss of revenue, increased over time and the cost to modify thousands of signs throughout the city.  As a result, I felt the legislation, in its current form, though well-intentioned, was incomplete.”

Councilman Marcus A. Griffith feels the loss of any revenue is worth it, to give the residents a break.

“This legislation provides time relief for residents to move their car,” Councilman Griffith tells Black Westchester. “I am aware this may be a reduction in City Parking revenue. But I feel this has been double taxation to residents already paying high property taxes. The City can clean the rounds within the three-hour window. So why not give the residents a break.”

Prior to the passage of this legislation, citizens had been required to move their vehicles to make way for street sweepers by 8:00 A.M., forcing many to search for temporary parking spots, double-park, and add unnecessary congestion to the already hectic rush hour traffic. This has been the subject of regular complaints from citizens as an important quality of life issue. While the legislation extends the deadline by an hour, no changes will be made to the days of the week for alternate side parking. The ordinance will be implemented city-wide.

“The cost of the stickers to cover the current street signs is a small price to pay to give the residents of Mount Vernon some much-needed relief,” Councilman Wallace adds. “While the belief among elected officials has been, this will cost the city in lost revenue, the purpose for the alternate side of the street parking rules was never to generate revenue, but to clear the street so street-sweepers could clean them.”

Black Westchester has been present to hear many residents complain about the 8:00 am rule the last few years at City Council meetings. Especially many who work nights who say they have to park blocks away when they get home, where if it were pushed back an hour, they could park much closer and move their car when their neighbors go to work in the morning. Residents we spoke to expressed joy when told about the new legislation.

One resident, Yvette an African-American woman in her 50’s who lives on the Southside and gets home after midnight, was happy to hear about the new legislation.

“Not having to walk two and three blocks or more, after midnight is great,” she shared with Black Westchester. “Not only because I am on my feet all day at work but for safety reasons as well. Thank you, Councilman Wallace, thank you City Council.”

The ordinance will be presented to Mayor Richard Thomas for signature and, if signed, is expected to go into effect June 3, 2019.