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Streets no dirtier despite changes

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It’s hard to change the status quo, at least in Park Slope, a study released this week found.

Suspending alternate side of the street parking regulations had a “minimal impact” on traffic and parking conditions in space-starved Park Slope, the Department of Transportation (DOT) study revealed.

According to the DOT, the study found that the available curbside parking during the parking “holiday” remained “virtually unchanged” from the neighborhood’s already high level of occupancy.

The study found that 98 percent of all available parking spaces were occupied with or without the regulations in place, and that there was no change in turnover rates of parked vehicles during afternoon and overnight periods.

Back in May, the agency suspended alternate side parking rules for eight weeks as the agency installed 2,800 new street cleaning signs with detailing reduced street cleaning regulations.

The parking suspension was met with veritable glee by Community Board 6, which for years insisted that more street cleaning doesn’t necessarily make a roadway cleaner. And fewer days devoted to street cleaning means less time moving cars and endlessly circling a block in search of a parking spot, particularly elusive in this neighborhood.

Board 6’s lobbying ultimately paid off, when the Department of Sanitation agreed to amend the rules.

The study, released Dec. 30, also found that the percentage of observed vehicles registered in the local zip code, 11218, increased from 37 percent to 49 percent, proof that non-residents were not storing vehicles in the neighborhood during the suspension, as was initially feared.

The study found mixed results from residents on whether the suspension made it easier to find parking on weekdays: 47 percent said it was easier, while 31 percent it was more difficult. The study found differing views on whether street cleanliness suffered: 30 percent of respondents to an online survey said curbs were less clean, 45 percent said cleanliness was about the same, and 24 percent said they didn’t know or were unsure, according to the DOT.

Park Slope resident Thomas Miskel, the co-chair of Board 6’s Transportation Committee said he has not noticed streets getting dirtier. “It really didn’t effect anything,” he said of the rules suspension.

“As far as parking, nobody from outside the area came. We just parked our cars and left them there for two months,” he recalled.

One criticism, Miskel said, is that the study area should have included ZIP code 11215, which he said covers a larger portion of the Slope than 11217. “Basically, their study was sort of invalid,” Miskel said.

The DOT said it used 11217 because it already had data for the area, which it collected last December, allowing for an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison. Moreover, 11217 shares similar traffic and parking patterns with the rest of the Slope, according to the DOT. The agency said its study offers “a unique perspective on traffic and parking,” providing data the agency could use to adopt curbside management changes not just in Park Slope, but citywide.

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