NYC Councilman suggests crazy-reasonable reform of parking ticket rules

posted at 9:06 pm on March 31, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

It’s refreshing to see this impulse emerge every once in a while, even if it doesn’t stand a chance. It didn’t last time Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) brought it up in 2010, but there may be hope this time around.

A city councilman is launching a new push for a revolutionary change to the dreaded alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations.

If successful, it would give millions of car owners something special: the gift of time.

The regulations ban parking for a period of time — usually 90 minutes — to allow street sweepers to pass through.

Under the proposal by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), drivers could legally take parking spots once the street sweeper passed by — ending the need for drivers to wait inside their cars until the no-parking time period lapses.

Rodriguez, a former cab driver, also wants to make sure drivers sitting in their cars with the engine running do not get ticketed for idling.

Rodriguez has noticed that such rules are more focused on gouging citizens than serving them, and disproportionately gouge those who can ill afford it. That’s something his fellow Democrats are supposed to care about, but one guess why they don’t.

If enacted, the proposal would likely reduce city parking ticket revenues, which last year amounted to $70 million just from about 1.2 million alternate-side summonses, according to the Department of Finance.

Fox NY notes how much of the city’s time and energy is taken up dealing with parking issues. One imagines if they took some of this off their plates, they might actually have time to serve citizens better.

Alternate side of the street parking is so important to New York City drivers that when you call 311 it’s the first information delivered. After a mechanical broom or motorized sweeper cleans a street, drivers usually park on the cleaned street but have to sit in their cars until the street cleaning time period ends. That or get a $65 ticket.

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, the head of the City Council Transportation Committee, wants to reintroduce a bill allowing drivers to leave their car as soon as a street is cleaned. He calls it common and financial sense for drivers.

I cannot imagine they can possibly break the addiction to revenue in New York City, but I’d love to be wrong.

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Half of all modern government regulations are extortion backed up by the government monopoly on violence.

oscarwilde on March 31, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Half of all modern government regulations are extortion backed up by the government monopoly on violence.

oscarwilde on March 31, 2014 at 9:11 PM

And we, with more weapons than any army ever formed, put up with that shit.

Murphy9 on March 31, 2014 at 9:13 PM

oscarwilde on March 31, 2014 at 9:11 PM

And we, with more weapons than any army ever formed, put up with that shit.

Murphy9 on March 31, 2014 at 9:13 PM

Evidence perhaps, that we have collectively gone insane.

oscarwilde on March 31, 2014 at 9:15 PM

Parking revenue is critical to NYC. Our trucks routinely picked up tickets every time they loaded or unloaded at any of the green markets in the city.

We hired a service to “fight” the tickets in court for us- they got the fines reduced, kept a percentage and the grease we paid the city to do ordinary business was lessened. Winning!

Pless1foEngrish on March 31, 2014 at 9:17 PM

I don’t even know what “alternate side of the street parking” means.
Just to be safe,, I’ll avoid NY.

wolly4321 on March 31, 2014 at 9:22 PM

Just another reason to never ever live in NYC.

Kaffa on March 31, 2014 at 9:24 PM

The only borough (a relatively small one) where I’m somewhat familiar with the ‘street sweeping’ activity, and subsequent enforcement/ticketing, has an officer follow behind the street sweeper, and issue tickets only based on whether the machine has to go around the offending parked car.

The instant the street sweeper goes past, you can park right where it just cleaned with no dire consequences, whatsoever.

When I lived in that town, I would occasionally sit in the driver’s seat, and wait on the machine, then move my vehicle out of the way just ahead of it … circle the block, and come back to my original spot, now behind the machine. Get out, smile and wave at the officer following … and enjoy the rest of my day.
.
But . . . this idea by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) would deprive the City of a lucrative source of revenue, so it probably won’t be implemented.

listens2glenn on March 31, 2014 at 9:27 PM

But . . . this idea by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) would deprive the City of a lucrative source of revenue, so it probably won’t be implemented.

listens2glenn on March 31, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Extortion backed up by violence is always a lucrative source of revenue.

oscarwilde on March 31, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Half of all modern government regulations are extortion backed up by the government monopoly on violence.

oscarwilde on March 31, 2014 at 9:11 PM
.

And we, with more weapons than any army ever formed, put up with that shit.

Murphy9 on March 31, 2014 at 9:13 PM

.
Evidence perhaps, that we have collectively gone insane.

oscarwilde on March 31, 2014 at 9:15 PM

.
I tend to blame it on laziness more than insanity, but your original comment is one of the best worded descriptions of government regulations I’ve ever read.

Definitely a “saver”.

listens2glenn on March 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Why don’t they just run them late night/early morning?

wolly4321 on March 31, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Just a thought – if they adopted this practice, would that deprive unionized “parking enforcement officers” of work? Might be a public-sector union thing.

ConservativeinCO now in ME on March 31, 2014 at 9:39 PM

I cannot imagine they can possibly break the addiction to revenue in New York City, but I’d love to be wrong.

It’s probably not just the revenue though what city would say no to that. Here in Northern VA, I’m doing some committee work where I discovered the county specifically has apartments de-couple (or is that consciously decouple?) parking from the cost of the rent. The whole goal is to disincentivize private ownership of vehicles. You may just re-think owning a car if you have to pay an extra $100 for a space on top of your $2000/month rent. DC has much the same policies in place. They want to make car ownership painful so that more people will opt for public transportation or bikes over putting cars on the road.

Happy Nomad on March 31, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Meh, NYC problems. It`s a boat anchor for my state as far as I`m concerned.

ThePrez on March 31, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Why don’t they just run them late night/early morning?

wolly4321 on March 31, 2014 at 9:37 PM

.
If it’s a “business district” street, then that would in fact be ideal. But in the particular borough I was making reference to earlier, most of the street cleaning is residential areas with little or no ‘off-street’ parking, so all sides of the street within those areas would be parked in nearly solid from evening till the following morning.

listens2glenn on March 31, 2014 at 9:45 PM

When I lived in that town, I would occasionally sit in the driver’s seat, and wait on the machine, then move my vehicle out of the way just ahead of it … circle the block, and come back to my original spot, now behind the machine. Get out, smile and wave at the officer following … and enjoy the rest of my day.
.
But . . . this idea by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) would deprive the City of a lucrative source of revenue, so it probably won’t be implemented.

listens2glenn on March 31, 2014 at 9:27 PM

The problem is every once in a while you’re going to have a Parking Violations Officer who’ll double back around in their little motorized cart, too, and then ticket or even tow drivers who were there, saw the sweeper pass, and then got out of their cars and went on with their business (I only have to worry about this once a year now, but past experience showed if the sweeper showed up in my area early in the 90-minute window, you were more likely to see the PVO make that second loop. If the sweeper’s late, especially in a 10-11:30 alternate side zone with an 11:30-1 right nearby to handle, then you were usually safe to leave if there were just 10-20 minutes left before the parking ban expired — the PVO has other fish to ticket).

jon1979 on March 31, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Just a thought – if they adopted this practice, would that deprive unionized “parking enforcement officers” of work?

ConservativeinCO now in ME on March 31, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Deprive unionized parking enforcement officers of work or deprive them of jobs. The distinction is significant. Because no NYC meter maid is going to be whining about not having to work.

Happy Nomad on March 31, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Happy Nomad on March 31, 2014 at 9:41 PM

.
Dead-nuts right-on.

It’s just another means of depriving American “commoners” of their personal independence.

listens2glenn on March 31, 2014 at 9:51 PM

jon1979 on March 31, 2014 at 9:45 PM

.
I’m not denying this happens in other places, but it never happened in my “little town”.

listens2glenn on March 31, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Born in NYC, raised in the area, and left as soon as I was old enough to shake the dust of the place off of my feet. Haven’t wanted to live there since, though I do visit family and friends every summer.

Got a parking ticket in NYC parked in a legal spot. Read the signs, my family (born, raised, and still living there) were there and had NO IDEA how I violated a parking ordinance in the spot I was in (they had approved the spot when we originally parked there), and to this day I’m convinced I was given the ticket because they assumed an out-of-state plate wouldn’t bother to fight it and would just pay it.

Except for the most egregious of traffic violations, I find the entire concept of traffic fines to be extortion. The government should not enrich itself off of police action, particularly when this supposedly ‘corrective’ action has no corrective impact AT ALL on anyone who doesn’t suffer financially from it (the rich, who can pay the fines and laugh it off).

I have no use for NYC nor for the extortionist policies of our state, local, and federal governments through police action.

xNavigator on March 31, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Sandinista government.

And the mayor was booed today when he threw out the first pitch at Citi Field.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on March 31, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Once again what is so special about living in NYC?

I never understood it, but then again I have a Thomas Jefferson style dislike for big cities. In the age of the internet and instant communications the need for the traditional city is gone.

Washington D.C. for example.

In fact come to think of it, the GOP should make it part of their plank to break up the concentration of federal departments based in D.C. and move them to different parts of the country. The only thing to remain in the Metro area would be Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. That would make it harder for lobbyist, and force government employees to get out into the country…no need to concentrate them anymore. It is not the 19th century…right Obama and Dems?

William Eaton on March 31, 2014 at 10:03 PM

…I don’t care…I’ll never go there!

KOOLAID2 on March 31, 2014 at 10:08 PM

to this day I’m convinced I was given the ticket because they assumed an out-of-state plate wouldn’t bother to fight it and would just pay it.

xNavigator on March 31, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Yeah, I got a ticket in New Orleans like that. A ticket for parking illegally in a part of the city I wasn’t even in. I’m certain some lazy fat angry black meter maid just went downtown (where I was legally parked in a pay lot on that day) and found out-of-state plates. I ended up paying the bill because it was too hard to fight the system.

Happy Nomad on March 31, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Once again what is so special about living in NYC?

William Eaton on March 31, 2014 at 10:03 PM

You’re crushing the dreams of every semi-talented actor, wannabe musician, aspiring tycoon, and closeted gay in America.

My brother lives in Manhattan. I’ve never understood the allure but he loves the lifestyle. For me, it is like that episode of Star Trek where it turns out the planet is overpopulated to the point where they literally are packed like sardines.

Happy Nomad on March 31, 2014 at 10:14 PM

to this day I’m convinced I was given the ticket because they assumed an out-of-state plate wouldn’t bother to fight it and would just pay it.

xNavigator on March 31, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Yeah, I got a ticket in New Orleans like that. A ticket for parking illegally in a part of the city I wasn’t even in. I’m certain some lazy fat angry black meter maid just went downtown (where I was legally parked in a pay lot on that day) and found out-of-state plates. I ended up paying the bill because it was too hard to fight the system.

Happy Nomad on March 31, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Why bother paying it? What recourse do they have to force an out of towner to pay their “protection insurance”?

mdenis39 on March 31, 2014 at 10:19 PM

I was in Manhattan over the weekend and got two parking tickets in the span of about 30 minutes. The first spot was in a zone with commercial parking during certain hours, regular parking other hours. I misread the sign, thinking it was okay to park, went to the parking meter (a couple car lengths away) to purchase the ticket to put on my dashboard. I was at it for less than a minute (30-40 seconds?), realizing I couldn’t park there so turned to go move the car. And there was an officer was making up a ticket! I ran to him but he said it was too late, the ticket was printed. $115 for trying to park legally, in under a minute. How the cop was able to input the license plate, model, VIN, etc in that amount of time (instead of seeing me and telling me to move) makes me very suspicious.

So I move the car, as intended. Study the signs thoroughly. Buy the little ticket from the parking meter ($1.50), place it on my dashboard, run to do my errand, come back to another ticket. This one written within 5 minutes of me parking. Apparently the little ticket had flipped upside down so the officer wrote up a nice little $65 ticket.

The street-sweeping thing is dumb and I have experienced it. New York is reaching the outer limit of livability as far as I can see.

Crispian on March 31, 2014 at 10:22 PM

NY is harsh. In San Francisco (and other cities?) you can park as soon as the street sweeper passes.

But I tell you this: maybe you can legally go 80 in some places, but it’s not as much fun as starting at 96th (110th?) and 5th Avenue and taking the lights as they, one by one, turn green all the way downtown. (I hope that’s still the case.)

But maybe only a New Yorker feels that way.

bobs1196 on March 31, 2014 at 11:28 PM

Reason #1,456,791 why I’ll never go within 50 miles of NYC again.

Mini-14 on March 31, 2014 at 11:44 PM

Half of all modern government regulations are extortion backed up by the government monopoly on violence.

oscarwilde on March 31, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Half? What are you, a Lib? LOL

Reason #1,456,791 why I’ll never go within 50 miles of NYC again.

Mini-14 on March 31, 2014 at 11:44 PM

I’ve only been to cities because I was dragged to them or on my way to somewhere else and couldn’t easily avoid them.

Starve these Democratic/Union machine beasts. Of course, like the Crips and the Bloods they’ll just spread out to the suburbs and set up franchises. Been happening to the South for fifty years now.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 1, 2014 at 5:54 AM

Rodriguez has noticed that such rules are more focused on gouging citizens than serving them, and disproportionately gouge those who can ill afford it. That’s something his fellow Democrats are supposed to care about, but one guess why they don’t.

Councilman Rodriquez needs to get out of politics and into psychology because it’s a matter of changing a mindset rather than laws. But good luck with that in a Godless environment like New York City, where the primary concerns are, in this order, love of money, love of the praise of men, love of material comforts, and love of violence.

When I moved to Maine 22 years ago, I was astonished to find a holdover from a more sane time regarding their ticketing policies. Here, in my big town/ small city, if you haven’t had a ticket for an expired meter in the last 90 days, you don’t have to pay it. Beyond that, however, Portland is doing its best to emulate its big sister cities to its South in every other respect.

Cleombrotus on April 1, 2014 at 8:08 AM

I park in WNC. No problem.

vnvet on April 1, 2014 at 9:42 AM

In New York, residents are simply regarded by government as ATMs wearing shoes.
And increasingly, everywhere else.

orangemtl on April 1, 2014 at 9:43 AM

I won’t even attempt to park on the street in NYC. I assume that any space that appears to be open is probably illegal for some reason. You can go online and get coupons that will allow you to park in many garages for $10-15. It’s amazing to me what the sheep who live there put up with.

Philly has its own adorable parking nonsense rules. I got a $200 ticket in the mail for a car I no longer owned being parked on a street where I had never been with a “for sale” sign in it. Had no idea that was even illegal, but it is. Had to spend several hours on the phone with the charity I gave the car to and the Philly Parking Authority to resolve that one. Also got a $300 ticket for parking in a handicapped space (at night, when the store it was in front of was closed) when the front bumper of my car was barely an inch over the line into the handicapped space. Fought that one for 6 months, but because I didn’t take a photo of it the night it happened, I lost my appeal. I stayed out of the city for 2 years after that, figuring they had stolen $300 of my money and weren’t going to get any more for a while. Now I take the train or park in a garage when I go into the city.

rockmom on April 1, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Its taxation by citation. Under Bloomberg the NYPD became agents of the NYCIRS.

As a commuting NYer, I drive from my home’s garage to my work’s garage and pay a nice penny for a spot there.

NY libs for some reason hate NY cars, and do everything possible to punish you for daring to own a car in their city. They fail to maintain roads. Block expansion of roadways, and take away lanes for bikes.

Iblis on April 1, 2014 at 12:49 PM