In July, when the city announced cuts in the number of free parking permits for teachers, I asked for comments on the fairest ways to distribute permits and how it played out in schools. Here’s what teachers on the internet are saying.
Miss Malarkey, who wrote that the new parking policy seems like “another slap at the veteran teachers,” is thinking about what to take out of her over-sized handbag, which will ring true for those who’ve carried science supplies, rolls of chart paper, or stacks of student journals on a bus or train:
The neighborhood I work in is not great. There have been muggings and purse snatchings near the school, and I feel vulnerable walking, weighted down by all my stuff.
Jonathan, who teaches in the Bronx, is concerned that the old system of more permits than spaces was more fair than the favoritism going on at many schools now that the principal and union chapter leader distribute permits. And some schools aren’t easily accessed by transit, he points out:
I am a big fan of public transport. I use it, where it is practical. The tyranny of the upper east side rich poking at middle class schlubs who need to drive is infuriating. Meeting in Manhattan? Of course I jump on the train. Meeting on the other side of the Bronx? What, are you kidding?
Mimi agrees that permits are not being distributed fairly:
There ARE a very limited number of passes being distributed. Our administrators (some of whom live a ten minute walk from school) snatched those up and left the teachers (some of whom live a 45 minute drive away) with nothing.
So, in sum, …those of us who actually need and legally use our parking passes will be denied. In the middle of the fall. After we have made decisions about our employment based on our proximity to work and subsequent commute.
Will teachers who live in the suburbs leave the city schools to work closer to home? On a Teachers Network chatboard, commenter Rae is thinking of leaving:
There were only 3 permits left after the principle dispersed them to the higher ups. As one of the only options to arrive to work, it seems as a permanently certified teacher, I will be forced to leave the system and find a job here in Long Island.
While others on the chatboard questioned the practicality of leaving a job over parking, at least one commenter agreed with Rae — and over and over I read that administrators and union leaders are keeping permits for themselves.
While there have been parking abuses by teachers, the new placard distribution system is broken, both at the school level and at the city level, where the number of spaces seems to have little to do with school size, availability of a parking lot, or proximity to transit. I leave it to UFT leadership and to Streetsblog’s parking experts to propose a more rational solution.