The following report by Michael Howard Saul appears in the Wall Street Journal:
When the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shuttered 570 bus stops last week because of service cuts, many New Yorkers thought the silver lining would be additional street parking.But city ticket agents added insult to injury, issuing tickets to motorists who parked at the decommissioned bus stops, despite signs clearly saying, “Attention: This location is no longer a bus stop.”
In response to an inquiry from The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, a spokesman for the city’s Finance Department said the city will dismiss all tickets that were issued for parking at the discontinued bus stops. But the recipient of the ticket must first contest the ticket.
“If you contest it, we can dismiss it right away,” said Owen Stone, a spokesman for the city’s Finance Department. “If you do nothing, we will be trying to collect from you.”
Officials at the Finance Department will be getting a list of all the decommissioned bus stops.
Any motorist who received a ticket at one of those stops will be eligible for dismissal-without needing to provide any further evidence, Mr. Stone said.
Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York Police Department, said the department instructed ticket agents late last week not to ticket any vehicles at the decommissioned bus stops because they are “not being actively used.”
Technically, Mr. Browne said, the city is permitted to issue summonses at these locations because the signs haven’t been changed to allow parking.
But agents have been told not to ticket because of the confusion. Still, he conceded some agents may not have gotten the message.
Councilman David Greenfield said a number of his constituents in Brooklyn’s Boro Park have received tickets for parking at the now discontinued B23 bus service.
He fired off a hot letter to the NYPD and the city’s Transportation Department.
“It’s bad enough that the MTA has given our community the short-shrift by taking away a vital bus route, but it adds insult to the injury that traffic enforcement agents are issuing tickets at those affected bus stops,” said Mr. Greenfield.
He added that everbody in the community knows the bus stops are no longer in use and that’s why they’re parking there.
“Issuing tickets to unsuspecting drivers for blocking an obsolete bus stop is nothing short of outrageous.”
Officials at the Transportation Department said signs at most of the decommissioned bus stops will be changed by the end of the month.
The new rules governing those spaces will be determined on a case-by-case basis, the department said.
Max Perlstein, 70 years old, sent the mayor a complaint after members of his Boro Park synagogue started getting tickets. He called the entire situation “idiotic.”
“Every citizen should be allowed to park in a place that is no longer a bus stop,” he said. “The sign says it is no longer a bus stop-how in the world can the city say it is a bus stop?”