NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –- Commuters inching their way home in horrible traffic each afternoon are also getting caught in what’s become known as the Holland Tunnel ticket trap.
“It’s horrible, I think it’s a big issue,” one driver told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
“It’s rude, absolutely rude. It’s about time somebody do something,” said another.
“I think it’s stupid. I was pushed by the other cars in the middle of the traffic, and she gave me this stupid ticket,” another man added. “It’s crazy. I’m not going to pay for it, that’s crazy.”
“This is crap. This is what our tax money goes for? Come on,” said Abraham Mimy, who owns a business near the intersection of Thompson and Watts streets.
He watches daily as traffic enforcement agents stand in packs on the corner. As the light turns red, the agents show up at the windows of drivers blocking the box, scan their registrations and print out tickets with hefty fines.
Last year, there were similar complaints at an intersection in Ridgewood, Queens.
“Be visible. Don’t play a mouse-and-cat game with me. Don’t hide so you can give me a ticket,” Mimy said.
Between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Thursday alone, the agents printed out 46 tickets. At $115 a pop, that’s more than $5,000 for the city.
“They’re just trying to make their quota, and it’s just easy access,” said driver Yasmin Santiago. “They’re traffic agents. Why aren’t they helping? Why aren’t they delegating where to go?”
There’s no question blocking the box is a huge problem in the area, Layton reported. But rather than pounce on drivers the second they get stuck, wouldn’t it make more sense for the NYPD to direct traffic and help it move along?
A spokesperson for the department said enforcement is one tool it uses to address dangerous gridlock, and people who live in the area say they appreciate the deterrent.
“There’s signs that say ‘don’t block the box.’ That’s another thing that all motorists… should read more and be more cautious,” resident Leslie Borg said.
But drivers say without a promise from police to actually help the flow of traffic, the congested mess will continue to be a money maker for the city.