Parking enforcement officers fanned out through Park Slope this week, doling out $45 tickets as alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations came back into effect after an eight-week hiatus.
At least 13 cars were ticketed on Eighth Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues on Tuesday, and close to that number of bright orange tickets were plastered on windshields on Prospect and Park places between Sixth and Fourth avenues — just a small portion of the scores of tickets that were written since Monday morning, when the new rules rolled in.
Alternate-side parking — and the street cleaning that comes with it — had been suspended to allow the Department of Transportation to install more than 2,000 new signs to alert drivers that “No parking” periods were being cut from three hours to 90 minutes on side streets. The result will be cleaner streets, according to the Department of Sanitation.
The rules went into effect on Monday, though many residents remained unaware — until they got the ticket, that is.
“No one gave us any warning,” said Sandra Ellis, who barely avoided a ticket — but only because some neighbors were getting one. “I took out my garbage and I saw people moving their cars. I called 311 and that’s how I found out. This is the way the city makes money. It’s sneaky. Think about all the people on vacation. They never set a hard date for ending this, so if you left on vacation, you would think the rules were still suspended.”
Another resident added: “During the changeover, I got used again to leaving my car wherever. But everyone thought there’d be a grace period.”
Even if drivers like that were unprepared, cops at the 78th Precinct certainly were; next to the main entrance to the Sixth Avenue stationhouse was a map of the entire area where rules went back into effect — evidence that the police were more than ready to punish lawbreakers.
City officials said that they informed the public through news releases and via the 311 system. And Councilman Bill DeBlasio put out a flier alerting drivers — though many clearly didn’t get the message. The news was also widely reported in local and city media.
“I share people’s frustration with how this entire process has been handled by the Department of Transportation,” DeBlasio said in a statement. “If, on Day 1, DOT had simply set a date for when alternate-side parking rules would go back into effect, this confusion could have been avoided.”
DeBlasio said he would call upon DOT to “show leniency on these tickets, given that many neighborhood residents were unaware the rules had gone back into effect.”
Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman is urging anyone who had received a ticket to contact his office.
“We will write a letter of support … and the ticket [may] be dismissed,” Hammerman said, citing the unusual circumstances.
On many blocks, drivers not only got tickets, but a souvenir of the newly reinstituted parking regulations: those bright yellow, impossible to cleanly remove Sanitation Department stickers warning car owners that they have failed to move their car in time for an arriving street sweeper.
Meanwhile, residents of Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill have begun experiencing the joy of not having to move their cars. The current “no alternate side” zone now stretches from Fourth Avenue to Court Street between Warren and 14th streets.