UNDER PRODDING from the City Council, the manager of the sprawling Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town housing complex in Manhattan agreed yesterday to be more receptive to outside input on parking issues.
Critics among elected officials and tenant groups have complained that the private housing complex, which is owned by MetLife, unilaterally imposed new parking regulations last year. The development, which includes 8,750 apartments in Stuyvesant Town and 2,500 in Peter Cooper Village, stretches from First Ave. to Avenue C between 14th and 23rd Sts.
At a hearing on the issue yesterday, Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz (D-Manhattan), whose district includes the complex, especially complained that the changes reduced the number of parking spots for the disabled.
Cooper/Stuyvesant officials could not say if there are fewer or more parking spaces for the disabled under the new system – which now relies on 40 designated spots reserved for the disabled. Previously, disabled drivers could park in no parking/no standing zones if they had authorizing placards.
Some residents also have complained of heavy-handed treatment by the special officers and of selective enforcement of parking restrictions.
Steve Stadmeyer, general manager of Cooper/Stuyvesant for Rose Associates, told Moskowitz that he would be willing to meet elected officials and tenant groups to explore ways to resolve the parking disputes.
“I have no problem sitting down with anybody that makes us a better property,” he said.
Under a quirky system, the complex is now patrolled by an in-house force of special patrolmen who have the power to write regular city parking tickets. The revenue from the tickets goes to the city.
Assemblyman Steven Sanders (D-Manhattan), who also represents the area, said he was troubled that the city serves as a ticket enforcer for the private housing complex. According to Sanders, MetLife obtained approval for its new parking rules from the city’s Department of Transportation without any public review or input from elected officials. “It’s the MetLife government,” he complained.
Stadmeyer insisted the changes have improved parking conditions.
“I believe that the final plan successfully addresses all the issues that were brought to our attention by the community and our residents,” he testified.