The New York City Council is expected to pass two pieces of legislation by Council Member Simcha Felder (D-Boro Park, Midwood, Bensonhurst) that will end ‘Gotcha’ ticketing across the City. The first bill creates a five-minute “grace period” for drivers for certain no parking zones such as alternate side parking regulations and expired Muni-Meters. The second bill requires the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to post notices of new and changed parking restrictions in affected neighborhoods and online up to one week in advance.
“I want to thank Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member John Liu, Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee for recognizing that tickets should only be issued to promote compliance and not to generate revenue,” said Felder. “Anyone with common sense and decency understands the need for a five-minute grace period to eliminate ‘gotcha’ tickets.”
In 2007, almost 300,000 alternate side violations were issued within five minutes of the rule taking effect. Of those, nearly 28,000 tickets were issued exactly on the hour that the rule went into effect. A five-minute grace period was previously in place as part of the City’s traffic enforcement policy but has since been replaced with a suggestion to agents that they use common sense when doling out violations. Many drivers believe a grace period still exists. Several municipalities, including Miami, have parking grace periods in place.
Parking restrictions could previously be altered without prior notification to the affected communities, resulting in confusion and unfair parking tickets. Under the new legislation, drivers who receive tickets within five days of DOT’s posting of permanent parking changes have an affirmative defense that he or she was parked in compliance with applicable parking restrictions that were in effect prior to the change. DOT will only be required to post emergency parking changes when practical and motorists will be subject to towing in those areas.
“It is unreasonable for the City to change parking regulations and restrictions without letting the public know first,” said Councilman Felder. “Simple notification would ensure that drivers park safely and would reduce the number of unfair parking tickets.”
“Taken together, these parking bills will make parking around our city both clearer and fairer for all New York City drivers,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.