Parking in Brownstone Brooklyn is already a headache — and that’s without the extra traffic the Barclays Arena will bring to the area once the 18,000-seat arena opens for the 2012 basketball season.
To cope with the impending parking pain, residents have continually pressed the city to initiate residential parking permits — but the city has given locals little more than an ambiguous maybe.
“The community has expressed an interest in Residential Parking Permits for arena events and we are looking into a number of solutions to deal with the parking concerns in the area,” said Department of Transportation Spokesperson Scott Gastel.
He echoed statements made last week by DOT Downtown Brooklyn coordinator Chris Hrones at a hearing on the Atlantic Yards .
"We need to explore how it would work. This is something we will be looking at in the coming months," said Hrones.
But residents see the residential parking permits as non-optional for the neighborhood, which is already oversaturated with vehicles circling for parking spaces, often for up to 30 or 40 minutes. The proposed arena parking lot would hold just 1,100 cars.
"I think this approach is the most fair for the residents who already have to deal with all the changes that this new arena will bring," said Paulette Owens, 35 of Wyckoff and Smith Streets. "Parking all around that area, all the neighborhoods surrounding the new Nets area, is already notorious for difficulty in finding parking.
"If there is nothing done to protect the residents, thing will get worse," she added.
“I don't want to come home from work at night and have to circle around for 30 minutes just to find a spot," said Timika Narine, 36, a resident of Union Street.
Gastel said any sort of permit plan would need to be approved by the state legislature. It’s not clear exactly what the conditions or costs of such a parking permit would be for residents.
"The city should have had these issues resolved and in place before the ground breaking of the stadium took place," said John Gonzalez, 22, from Fourth Avenue and Butler Street. "I would like to have a permit. If it will ease some of the stress of parking, then I'm all for it.
Kaia Zawadi contributed reporting.