No Common Sense in Parking Bill

New city legislation is under discussion that would force NYPD’s traffic enforcement officers to nullify tickets if drivers produce a paid muni-meter receipt within 10 minutes of the ticket.

Finding a parking spot is hard enough in the city, imagine coming back from the muni-meter to see a summons on the windshield. The bill seems practical enough; why should drivers who are doing the right thing be punished in the few minutes it takes to pay for parking?

The NYPD and Mayor Michael Bloomberg disagree. NYPD traffic boss Michael Pilecki argued before the City Council Transportation Committee that the bill could lead to increased altercations between motorists and cops and open the door for corruption. He argues that traffic enforcement officials’ best safety aid is that they cannot destroy tickets once they begin issuing one. Also, he worries that this will lead to corruption where motorists bribe agents to destroy tickets.

These arguments don’t stand up.

Yes, there are some motorists who will lose their temper and yell at and assault agents. This won’t change no matter how many different rules are put in place. But how many arguments could be avoided if law-abiding citizens knew that their unjust ticket could be nullified?

If this new law takes affect, some people will try to bribe their way out of a ticket. It would be no different then other citizens stupidly attempting to bribe police: They are breaking the law, and the NYPD should punish them.

We’re more inclined to agree with Bronx Councilman James Vacca who said the city is concerned about losing parking ticket revenues—more than $500 million a year.

The Mayor is expected to veto the bill when it passes within the next few months, and Council Speaker Christine Quinn has said she would override the veto. We applaud that decision. It’s time for the city to stop nickel and diming citizens who are doing the right thing with tickets and fees.

According to the New York Post, Brooklyn resident Derek Caldwell said he once received a $55 ticket after walking to the nearest working muni-meter after discovering the one on the street was broken.

“My first instinct was actually kind of disbelief because I’m paying the parking meter, I’m trying to do the right thing, but there’s a defective meter that caused me to stray further,” he said.



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