THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
New York, NY 10007
**For Immediate Release**
January 18, 2012
Contact: (212) 788-7116
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Release #: 013-2012
Council Votes to Ease Parking Regulations
The Fair Parking Legislative package will promote more judicious parking enforcement and ticketing practices, providing relief for motorists citywide.
New York, NY- Today, the City Council will vote on the Fair Parking Legislative package – three bills intended to make parking enforcement fairer and to eliminate excessive ticketing in New York City.
The first bill, presented by Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn during her 2011 State of the City address, would help drivers who receive a parking ticket while in the process of paying for a muni-meter spot. Under the legislation, Traffic Enforcement Agents, with electronic ticketing devices, will now be able – and required – to cancel the ticket immediately, averting the need for New Yorkers to dispute it later, saving them time and effort.
The Council will also vote on legislation to prohibit late fees on parking tickets prior to a determination of liability. Under current law, late fees may start accruing 30 days after a ticket is issued, rather than 30 days after a determination is made in these cases. This bill would suspend the accrual of late fees until at least 30 days after a finding of guilt, or thirty days after an appeal is decided.
Finally, the Council will vote to end a practice that utilizes adhesive stickers to mark vehicles allegedly violating alternate side parking rules. These stickers are unnecessarily punitive and this bill would end this practice.
IMMEDIATE CANCELLATION OF UNFAIR PARKING VIOLATIONS
To address complaints heard from New Yorkers who park their car and receive a ticket while in the process of paying at a muni-meter, the Council will consider a bill to require Traffic Enforcement Agents to cancel a ticket on the spot when presented with a muni-meter receipt that shows a time no later than five minutes after the time the ticket was issued.
Currently, when an agent issues a ticket but is then presented with a valid muni-meter receipt, there is no option to cancel the ticket instantly. Under this law, anyone who receives a ticket while doing what they are supposed to do – purchasing parking time from a muni-meter – will not have to fight it later on.
This legislation only applies to tickets written electronically, which account for approximately 85 percent of parking tickets written in the city, so there can be no dispute over the time stamped on the ticket and the muni-meter receipt. Finally, the Administration would be required to report the number of cancelled tickets annually to the Council, which would provide valuable information about any trends.
This local law would take effect 180 days following enactment, provided that during this period, the Department of Finance would be required to appropriately train agents to enforce the law.
“Today, we’re tackling a recurrent problem for many New Yorkers– unfair tickets,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Nearly every New York City driver has a story about getting tickets they clearly didn’t deserve. Ticketing is supposed to help us enforce the law – not unfairly punish people with no chance for swift recourse. With this bill, we’re saying to New Yorkers, We’ve listened, and we want to make your lives a little easier.”
“I am honored to partner with Speaker Quinn on her inspired parking initiatives,” said Council Member James Gennaro, the bill’s lead sponsor. “New York City drivers feel enough anxiety every day already without having to worry about getting a ticket while they’re walking to the muni-meter. By ensuring that premature violations are canceled if a receipt is shown within five minutes of the ticket being written, my bill will bring a little peace of mind to residents who are trying to do the right thing and pay for their parking.”
PROHIBITING LATE FEES PRIOR TO A DETERMINATION OF LIABILITY
Motorists have the right to dispute parking tickets and should not be penalized before a final determination is made in their case. However, as it stands now under the law, the late fee “clock” starts 30 days after a ticket is issued instead of 30 days after a determination is made in the case. This means that if a driver fights a ticket and is ultimately found guilty, fees may have accrued even before that finding is made.
The Council will vote on a bill that would freeze such late fees until at least 30 days after a finding of guilt. In addition, if someone appeals their decision, late fees or penalties may not accumulate until 30 days following a notice of determination of the appeal.
“It’s my hope that this bill will provide a greater degree of fairness to parking ticket recipients as they await the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge,” said Council Member James Sanders, lead sponsor of the legislation. “The new subdivision would protect New Yorkers who wish to plead Not Guilty to parking tickets from incurring any additional late fees until at least 30 days after a guilty ruling has been sustained. It allows time for a full and fair hearing process to play out without piling any additional financial burdens on top of alleged violators until after a decision has been made as to their guilt. It’s a simple matter of social, and in these difficult times, economic justice.”
ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING STICKER BILL
Finally, the Council will vote to prohibit the City from placing adhesive stickers to mark vehicles purportedly violating alternate side parking rules. These stickers are attached even before motorists are given the chance to prove their innocence. Besides the fact that many people successfully challenge alternate side tickets, cars should not be subject to such a nuisance before a finding of guilt. Actions like these are unnecessarily punitive.
“In testimony to the Transportation Committee, the Sanitation Department admitted that there is no good reason for these stickers except to punish motorists for an offense that they have not yet been convicted of. It's a fundamental concept of American justice that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and these stickers were punishing many motorists who were ultimately found not-guilty of the alleged offense,” said Council Member David G. Greenfield, lead sponsor of the bill. “I’m very grateful for the leadership of the Speaker and the support of my colleagues on this common-sense piece of legislation. I am pleased that these punitive stickers will soon be a thing of the past. Drivers across the city will no longer have to waste their time and effort undertaking the near impossible task of removing these garish neon stickers. Simply put, this is another victory in our continuing effort to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”
“If a driver violates alternate side street cleaning regulations, they may receive a ticket and plead guilty or not guilty. Is there also a need to place a sticker on the driver’s side window which in effect tells them they are guilty? The answer is no! Is it fair that motorists be given an ample opportunity to pay the muni-meter and to also use that receipt to prove their innocence? Isn't it only right that a late fee be added to a ticket when payment is actually late? The answers to those questions are yes! It’s called basic fairness,” said Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca of today’s package of legislation.