The Bronx district of Councilmember Maria Baez is pretty poor, with 72% of households earning less than $40,000 a year. Most of it is well-served by transit: the number 4 and letter D trains run through it, and it also has the University Heights Metro-North station and the BxM3 and 4 express buses. Not surprising, then, that it's in the green quintile, with 75.8% of all households being car-free and less than 30% of workers commuting in carrs.
What is surprising is that Councilmember Baez is sponsoring a bill to provide parking permits to all teachers employed by the Department of Education. A recent Gotham Gazette article notes that this comes at a time when advocates for fairness and sustainable transportation are succeeding in reducing the number of parking permits issued to government employees. If her bill passes, it's likely that the police, firemen and every other category of government employee will want their entitlements entrenched in law.
I'm sure there are plenty of teachers living in Baez's district, but most of them probably take the excellent public transit to work. On the other hand, I'm guessing that most of the teachers who work in Baez's district are convinced that the streets and subway platforms are crawling with thugs ready to pounce on any unsuspecting middle-class person who dares show their face outside of a school or a car. And it seems that Baez herself is ready to identify with these teachers - she told the Daily News that she drove to the Congestion Pricing hearing in July, even though it's a one-seat, 40-minute ride to City Hall on the 4 train.
Sadly, parking permits for teachers would be a very bad thing for the residents of Baez's district. The streets are already crowded with too many cars, because even though it has one of the lowest car-ownership rates in the country, available parking is also low. It has one of the highest asthma rates, due mostly to its proximity to two of the busiest highways in the country, but the teachers' cars don't help anything. City resources are wasted serving the driving minority while the walking majority puts up with crumbling sidewalks and rat-infested empty lots.
The worst part about Baez's bill is that it would enshrine in law the idea that being middle-class means that you drive everywhere, that it's not safe for teachers to walk the streets of the Bronx, and that some people are too good to take the subway. It would reinforce the separation between teachers and taught instead of breaking it down by having them share the sidewalks and subways.
Maria Baez should be ashamed of herself for sponsoring a bill that would benefit hardly any of her constituents, and penalize the vast majority of them. So should Alan Gerson for being a co-sponsor.