NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Drivers stuck in gridlock near the Holland Tunnel say the NYPD is setting them up for costly tickets.
CBS2’s Jessica Layton demanded answers Friday.
“It’s not moving at all,” said one driver stuck in the spill-back. “I should have been at work like an hour ago.”
Drivers say NYPD traffic enforcement agents have been standing in packs on the corner of Thompson and Watts streets for weeks doing nothing to help the gridlock. The second commuters get caught blocking the box, the agents come waltzing up to their windows and print out tickets, Layton reported.
“It’s crazy. I’m not going to pay for it,” one man said.
“This is crap. This is what our tax money goes for? Come on,” said Abraham Mimy, who owns a business near the intersection.
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.
“The cops definitely are funding their own business,” one man said.
“They’re traffic agents. Why aren’t they helping? Why aren’t they delegating where to go?” wondered a woman.
Layton returned to the area around 3:30 p.m. Friday, and the agents were nowhere to be found. In fact, by Friday night, others were directing traffic, which is exactly what drivers want.
But who knows how long it will last, so Layton went straight to the chief of the NYPD Transportation Bureau to demand answers on what many are calling the Holland Tunnel ticket trap.
“You’ve got five or six agents on a corner it seems like just waiting for someone to get caught in that box. Why not instead have them direct the traffic and help it move?” she asked.
“The agents are a limited resource,” said Chief Thomas Chan. “We want to discourage the motorists, because they have a shared responsibility to operate their vehicles in a safe manner.”
“How much does the enforcement at that intersection have to do with making the city money?” Layton asked.
“I think that it is a painful experience to receive a summons, but it also is a deterrent,” said Chan. “If you follow the rules, you’re not going to receive a summons at that location.”
Asked whether the city is playing a ‘gotcha game,’ Chan replied, “No, they aren’t.”
Reminder: Even if traffic enforcement agents make you angry, they’re just doing the job they were told to do. So the chief asks you to be courteous, saying don’t fight with the agent – but you can try to fight the ticket in court.