NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When it comes to parking tickets, make them fair, and make them less aggravating. That’s what the City Council is asking the Bloomberg administration to do with the thousands of tickets issued each day.
New York City rakes in an estimated $600 million a year in ticket revenue. Members of the Council Transportation Committee say it’s gotten out of control.
“If you ask me this entire issue of traffic summonses in this city has become a cash cow that the city wants to continue to perpetuate,” Councilman James Vacca said.
WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reports: Vacca Says Other Cities Are Updating Their Ticket Devices
And, in fact, the Bloomberg administration has approved of only one of the seven bills the Council has proposed, which members said would make the ticketing process easier to digest.
“I, too, was stunned by the number of objections that was raised to all these bills,” Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.
One of the proposals would have ticketing officers take a photo of the car to prove a violation occurred. The NYPD’s response: cops already carry too much equipment so adding a camera is too much to ask.
“It sets up an expectation that unless there is a photo documenting a violation it cannot be proven based on the sworn statement of the public employee. And that’s something that we, that’s a hurdle that I don’t think we can get over,” NYPD Assistant Commissioner Susan Petito said.
Councilman Vacca said he’s not buying that rationale.
“We get $600 million a year from traffic enforcement tickets but the city is judge and jury,” Vacca said. “Those pictures would go a long way, many tickets would not be issued if the enforcement agents had to take a picture of the offense. Many people would be able to prove their innocence.”
Other suggestions include: alternate side parking be suspended when a film crew is tying up parking spots during a movie shoot and, in order to prevent fraud, bar codes be added to the 118,000 parking placards used by police, government officials, and clergy that allow them to park almost anywhere. Last year the city issued 30,000 summonses for invalid placards.
The NYPD said it won’t work.
“There are pretty much no limits to what somebody with a good copy machine or printing capacity can fake,” Petito said.
The committee also got shot down over requiring judges to dismiss tickets if a motorist can produce a valid Muni-meter receipt, allowing electronic signatures online when contesting tickets instead of having to mail it in, and creating one-day parking permits for residents who are moving.
In fact, the only bill the administration supports is prohibiting any late fees on parking tickets until 30 days after a final judgment.
Negotiations between the Council and the Bloomberg administration on these issues are expected to continue into the summer.
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