Residents of parking-starved Bay Ridge are calling on the city to close a loophole that allows property owners to pave over their front yards to make driveways.
Opponents of the makeshift carports — all of which require curb cuts — say the home improvements rob Bay Ridge of its historic integrity and greatly limit the amount of public parking in a neighborhood already burdened by a glut of cars and a dearth of spaces to park them.
“We have a special neighborhood and we’re trying to protect it,” said Joanne Seminara, chair of Community Board 10’s Zoning and Land-use Committee. “Now we have people who will just knock out [their front yard] so they can park their car. It’s disappointing and it’s sad.”
In hopes of hedging the curb cuts, CB10 last month asked the Department of City Planning to ban such cuts at attached homes.
Currently, the city has permitted many curb cuts because of a liberal interpretation of a rule permitting them on “side lots.”
Of course, not everyone hates curb cuts. Many drivers say that in the Escalade-eat-Prius world of Bay Ridge parking, anything goes — curb cuts included.
“The parking here is so bad that I don’t see a problem with curb cuts at all,” said Eddie Franklin, who is sympathetic to curb-cutters, though he is not one of them.
Others would disagree. Ovington Avenue between Third and Fourth avenues has lost six legal parking spots to these currently legal curb cuts.
No wonder Seminara has been driven mad.
“When someone cuts their curb, they permanently remove a space from public use,” said Seminara. “It’s a vicious cycle. The more frustrated that people get because they can’t find a spot, the more likely they are to create curb cuts so they can guarantee that they’ll have a parking spot.”