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Bloomberg vetoes grace period on parking tickets

The Brooklyn Paper
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City drivers may yet catch a break from getting a parking ticket when the meter expires, but it won’t be on Mayor Bloomberg’s dime.

As promised, hizzoner vetoed the City Council’s bill that would grant drivers a five-minute “grace period” in certain no-parking zones such as during alternate side parking regulations and expired Muni-Meters.

“When New Yorkers park at a meter or at a signed curbside space, they leave their vehicle knowing exactly how much time they have purchased or are otherwise permitted to park to,” wrote Bloomberg in his veto letter to City Clerk Michael McSweeney.

“The overwhelming majority of motorists in New York return to their vehicle in time without the help of a grace period. Providing an additional five minutes merely creates confusion and increases the likelihood of confrontation between motorists and enforcement personnel,” he added.

City Councilmember Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park, Midwood, Bensonhurst), who sponsored the bill to end what he called ‘Gotcha’ ticketing across the city, said he respectfully disagrees with this veto. “This legislation is about common sense and decency and its passage will help change the ticketing culture of New York City. There is no reason why 300,000 tickets a year are issued within the first five minutes of alternate side parking regulations going into effect,” said Felder.

Previously, Felder maintained that parking tickets should only be issued to promote compliance and not to generate revenue.

The city issued about 9.94 million parking tickets in fiscal year 2009, generating $560 million. That’s down slightly from about 9.95 million the previous year, which brought $590 million into the city coffers.

Bloomberg does have some on his side including the bicycle advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives (TA).

“This is irresponsible pandering that will lead to more arguments at the curbside, and a profusion of illegal parking,” said TA Executive Director Paul Steely White.

Despite Bloomberg’s opposition, the Council appears to have the 34 votes needed to override the veto, and Speaker Christine Quinn vowed to do this at the next Council regular meeting on Dec. 21.

“These parking rules are not in place for the purpose of generating revenue. They are in place to promote compliance and that is why creating a five-minute grace period for drivers to move their vehicles is a fair and appropriate action to take,” she said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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