The Farce Of Alternate Side Parking Amid Coronavirus (Updated)

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In New York City we are not allowed to eat in at bars and restaurants, have been advised to work from home if possible, can’t gather in groups of more than 50, can’t go to the gym or movies, and the schools are closed. But! At least the streets will still be clean because alternate side parking regulations remain in place for some reason.


No one really knows why Mayor Bill de Blasio has not suspended the regulations, which require New Yorkers who park on the street to move their cars for street cleaners once or twice a week depending on the street. De Blasio himself might not even know; he said last night that suspending the rules was “under discussion,” according to The New York Post.

This morning, a mayoral spokeswoman told me, “As the mayor said this morning, a decision may be made today. Stay tuned.” Which suggests that the suspension will inevitably happen, and possibly today.

(Update, 2:59 p.m.: The mayor has seen the error of his ways:

Blog continues below as originally written.) 

Many people have been calling for the suspension for days, though. Here are three New York City Council members from Sunday:


The mayor’s office said yesterday that, “Any New Yorker under self-isolation who provides medical documentation or testimony can have their ticket dismissed,” again according to The Post, which made me laugh.


And while I was joking above about the need for clean streets, de Blasio very much isn’t. Here he is this morning, via The Daily News:

“It’s a pain in the butt, we all understand that. But it’s there for a reason — it’s because that is what allows the street sweepers to keep our neighborhoods clean,” de Blasio said on PIX11 Tuesday. “I am worried about a city in the middle of an epidemic that gets less and less clean. That’s not good public health practice.”


Surely de Blasio doesn’t actually believe that not temporarily sweeping the streets poses a risk to public health, because that would be a problem for the more than three dozen days—over 10 percent of the year—when street sweeping is called off because of various holidays, not to mention the times when it’s called off because of snow.

But so far this has played out like many issues with de Blasio, who can never seem to make a decision. All that’s missing is for Governor Andrew Cuomo to appear out of nowhere, declare alternate side parking dead forever, and ride off into the sunset.


As it stands, the rules remain in effect, and tickets for the non-compliant.


I moved my car today to comply, alongside several other drivers in my neighborhood, all of us with the same why-are-we-here expression on our faces. The street sweeper eventually did come by, though, perhaps because it was raining, the street looked exactly as it had before.



Living in New York City sounds absolutely horrible.