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Bay Ridge residents grapple with removal of parking signs

It’s hard enough to find a parking space in Brooklyn as it is, but when the Department of Transportation (DOT) removes parking regulation signs from streets, the result is confusion and head-shaking, according to frustrated Bay Ridge residents.

Locals say they’re having trouble deciphering the city’s byzantine parking regulations because of the absence of signs, particularly signs that used to indicate the boundaries of No Parking zones.

And the result of all that confusion is parking tickets, lots of them, according to Michael Jaguar, who has lived in Bay Ridge all his life.

“People are getting hit with parking tickets left and right,” Jaguar told this newspaper.

He offered an example.

“There were two No Parking signs on my block several feet away from each other. It was easy to tell that you couldn’t park in between the two signs. Then, about two summers ago, the city came and removed one of the signs and left the other one there. Now, you can’t tell how far the No Parking section extends,” Jaguar said.

It happened on his block, said Jaguar, who added that he happened to see the worker removing the sign that day. When he questioned the DOT worker, the man told him he was just doing his job.

“I watched him do this in a few different locations,” Jaguar said.

Many motorists, who had grown used to checking for two parking regulations signs, often don’t see the one sign that is left. They park their cars in what is technically still a No Parking zone and wind up getting tickets.

“This was happening daily and I even witnessed a car being towed from one of those spots,” Jaguar said. “I have warned dozens of people parking in those spots since that day.”

Jaguar, a retired New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) manager, contacted this newspaper with a list of some of the locations where No Parking or No Standing Anytime signs had been removed.

The locations include: 68th Street between Colonial Road and Ridge Boulevard; Colonial Road between 71st and 72nd streets; Ridge Boulevard between Bay Ridge Avenue and 70th Street; and 71st Street between Colonial Road and Ridge Boulevard.

Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, which advocates with city government on behalf of the residents of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, said she sympathizes with motorists.

“Our office has received many phone calls from residents complaining about this situation. We have requested that DOT replace the signs. But they turned us down,” Beckmann said. “I believe it’s a policy of DOT to have fewer parking regulation signs to reduce the clutter.”

In the past, New Yorkers have complained to elected officials about the abundance of parking regulation signs, which were often posted one of top of the other, including No Parking notices and Alternate Side of the Street signs.

Beckmann had advice for drivers.

“You have to pay attention to the arrows. If there is a No Parking sign with the arrow pointing one way and another sign with an arrow several feet away, you have to pay attention to that. You can’t park in the area between the two arrows,” she said.

A DOT spokesperson said the signs that were taken down aren’t coming back.

“It is no longer DOT’s practice to use two signs to box-in a regulation zone for short distances,” the spokesperson told this newspaper.

Like Beckmann, the rep advised drivers to be observant when hunting for parking spaces on city streets.

“Generally, posted signage with arrows are in effect for the distance until the next visible street sign,” the spokesperson said.

A tip from the DOT’s website says, “If there is more than one sign posted for the same area, the more restrictive one is the one in effect. If a sign is missing on a block, the remaining posted regulations are the ones that are in effect.

“Please check the entire block and read all signs carefully before you park,” concludes the message on the website, www.nyc.gov/dot.

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