For now, Community Board 10 won’t have anything official to say about an NYPD policy that has police officers issuing tickets to parents who double-park in front of local schools at dismissal time to pick up their young children.
At its December meeting, held in the community room at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road, board members disagreed sharply as to whether they shouldvoice their displeasure with the policy — which has raised the hackles of parents around the neighborhood —ultimately deciding to send the issue back to the Police & Public Safety Committee for further discussion.
Members of that committee had, the previous week, voted to recommend that the board send a letter to NYPD brass complaining about the ticket blitz, because the board has been fielding calls from irate residents who found the bright orange tickets stuck in the windshields while they darted out of their vehicles to collect their offspring, said Dean Rasinya, CB 10’s chair, during the committee meeting held in the board office, 8119 Fifth Avenue.
Since the start of the school year, Rasinya said, police officers have been making the rounds of area elementary schools, swooping down on several each day at dismissal, then moving on to others the next day. Previously, the NYPD “stayed away from schools at dismissal,” he remarked. When one round is finished, the whole cycle begins again, he said.
Noted Rasinya, the board was told by the NYPD that the “new initiative” was being pursued by the NYPD “because double-parking is extremely dangerous, and for the safety of the children they are going to issue summonses.
“We don’t dispute that,” Rasinya went on. Nonetheless, he said, “The reality of life in New York city is that parents are not going to park four or five blocks away, even if they could find a spot. I think this is just another revenue-generating scheme. In my opinion, it is a misguided policy.”
“In a matter of 30 seconds, they give five or six tickets then blast off,” he noted. “What do they accomplish other than raising money for the city?”
“If we don’t say anything, it’s just going to continue and continue and continue,” Rasinya opined.
But, while committee members were amenable to scolding the NYPD, the general board was not.
“You’re asking us to vote in favor of doing something illegal,” contended Bob Cassara, “saying it’s all right to double park in front of a school but not on Third Avenue or Fifth Avenue.”
Doris Cruz also said she “completely disagreed” with the motion. “It’s a drastic safety issue,” she asserted. Recalling that her children had attended Public School 185, at Ridge Boulevard and 86th Street, Cruz stressed, “There are three schools there and it’s so dangerous, I don’t think we can say it’s okay to double-park, especially where the safety of children is involved.”
“If we condone it, we are going to see triple-parking, and we are going to see traffic blocked up for blocks,” Judie Grimaldi contributed.
“It seems to me, if the laws are there, the laws are there,” added Steve Harrison, who said that the board could examine the issue to determine if “there is a better way to address the situation,” perhaps by altering the law.
Not everyone disagreed with the committee. George Prezioso opined, “In the end, you have to have common sense. Parents are more involved right now, dropping their children off and picking them up. We’re not saying double-parking is okay, but we’re making an accommodation. It’s not perfect, but what are these parents going to do?”