"City throws S. Bronx curveball on parking" Daily News 4/6/7
City throws S. Bronx curveball on parking
Nabe vies with Yankee fans for spots
By JUAN GONZALEZ
DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST
Friday, April 6th 2007, 4:00 AM
Jacob Bellve sat on the stoop of his brownstone on Walton Ave. in the South Bronx and glared at the stream of Yankees fans moving slowly down the block inside their cars.
Four hours before the start of last night's contest with the Devil Rays, the bitter pregame ritual was already on - furious street skirmishes between local residents and fans over precious few parking spaces.
"We're fed up with these fans coming in our neighborhood and taking all the spots," Bellve said. "A man comes home from work, then he has to sit in his car double-parked or he has to drive around the neighborhood till 10 p.m. when the game ends. Nobody listens to our complaints."
Hours earlier in a meeting in downtown Manhattan, City Hall officials were claiming they understood.
At a meeting of the city Industrial Development Agency, officials unveiled a financing plan for several thousand more parking spaces that will be built around the new Yankee Stadium, which is under construction.
The new garages alone will cost an astonishing $280 million. About a third of that - $91 million - is to come from the state and the city. That's part of $400 million in subsidies the city already gave to George Steinbrenner's stadium project last year.
But now we learn of yet another public subsidy: $190 million in additional tax-exempt bonds for the garages. Just by approving the tax-exempt financing, city and state officials are giving up as much as $4 million in taxes, says the watchdog group Good Jobs New York.
Even worse, the city currently gets $3 million annually as a share of parking revenues at the stadium. Under the proposed plan, the city no longer gets a share of those revenues.
Instead, the city will charge the group chosen to build the garages, an upstate organization called the Bronx Community Initiatives Development Corp., an annual rent as well as payments in lieu of taxes.
Officials at the city Economic Development Corp. claim the plan will make more money for the city than the current deal, but have yet to release details.
Several civic groups that oppose the plan say creating more parking spaces will only bring more people with cars into the South Bronx, which already has an epidemic of asthma.
"Why are we putting so much emphasis in creating a better environment for drivers," said Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York. "What about the social and health impacts on the community?"
Bellve, who has lived with the same game-day parking frustrations for more than 40 years on Walton Ave., knows one thing for sure - he won't be using those new Yankees garages.
"Who can afford to pay $20 or $25 to park for a few hours?" he said.
And there will be plenty of Yankees fans who will try to save money and park on the streets around the Stadium, fighting with Bellve for the same spots.
At least until cops enforce the law evenhandedly.
The fact is, game nights in the South Bronx transform the streets around the stadium in a huge illegal parking operation - and too often those illegally parked cars have police or other official decals displayed on their dashboards.
"This week, one of those fans parked right up on the sidewalk and he never got a ticket throughout the whole game," Bellve said. "But if one of us who lives here double parks for five minutes outside his house, we get a ticket right away. Now that ain't right, and everybody knows it."