Days Numbered for City Parking Privileges?


Michael Bloomberg (front row, fourth from right) with other mayors at the C40 Summit 

City employees should not have the right to free parking any more than New Yorkers who labor in the private sector, Mayor Bloomberg said Tuesday, hinting that the perk which entices 35 percent of government workers to drive to Manhattan could soon be history.

Fielding a question from Streetsblog about the impact city employees have on congestion, Bloomberg said the use of parking placards should be limited to emergencies, as should lights and sirens, and that he is considering restrictions on the privilege that some have come to view as an entitlement.

Bloomberg's remarks came as he stood in Central Park with mayors from around the world, gathered for the Clinton Foundation's C40 Climate Summit, to announce that they have taken up the mantle of fighting climate change.

"Mayors are leading, quite frankly, because we have to," Bloomberg said. "Mayors can't wait for the future."

Bloomberg is one of over 500 to sign on to the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Initiated by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels in 2005, the agreement commits participating cities to reduce CO2 emissions to 1990 levels, matching the goals of the Kyoto Protocol, of which the United States is not a signee.

Bloomberg has emerged as the star of the four-day C40 Summit, due in no small part to persistent rumors of a 2008 presidential bid. Deflecting questions regarding his future political plans, and brushing off one reporter's suggestion that he might position himself as a "Republican Al Gore," Bloomberg said the public should demand straight answers from candidates on national energy policy. "You can't equivocate," he said. "You can't be on both sides of the issue."

On congestion pricing -- another matter that has brought him the national spotlight -- the mayor dismissed the notion that he is at odds with state lawmakers, despite media reports to the contrary.

"We are not having a battle with Albany," said Bloomberg. "We went up there yesterday and we got more than a respectful hearing."