A photo of that faded no-parking sign could leave you fine-free
A new bill passed by the City Council on Tuesday will bring some relief to car drivers that know all too well the frustration of parking in a space that looks available, only to return to their car and find that they’ve been ticketed for parking illegally.
The new legislation, sponsored by City Councilmember Mark Treyger, passed with 47 votes and only one abstention on Tuesday. The new measure would create a legal defense against parking violations issued to car owners who — accidentally — park illegally due to an illegible parking sign (i.e. faded, missing or damaged).
“We’ve heard from a number of people that signs are faded and illegible. Residents don’t know what the parking regulation is and get hit with a ticket due to the city’s lack of maintenance,” Treyger told the Eagle.
The new legislation will amend local law to allow photo evidence in contesting a parking violation in cases where the signage is unclear.
“It is within the Department of Finance’s discretion to dismiss these tickets, but they are not required to do so. Many people don’t know that they might be able to get their ticket dismissed for illegible signs, and the standards for dismissal can be unclear,” Treyger said Tuesday afternoon at a press conference.
The measure would only extend to violations issued to vehicles in parking spaces where a parking sign was illegible on both sides (when double-sided) and where no other sign that applied to the same violation and parking spot were located on the same side of the block.
“There should be more pressure on DOT to maintain parking signs citywide, and the onus should not be on taxpayers and residents for the basic responsibilities of government,” Treger said. “This issue speaks to a larger problem within DOT: It just takes too long to get things done.”
The measure is expected to be in effect by late November of this year.
The bill comes after Speaker Corey Johnson last Thursday made comments on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” about the need to break the city’s preferential treatment to cars.
“I do think that there are too many parking spaces in New York City,” Johnson said. “We have over 3 million [on-street] parking spaces in New York City … and we should reclaim that space and use it for the public.”
Johnson went on to note that current parking practices citywide have only made traffic and accessibility worse for residents.
“We need to break the car culture. It is choking our streets. It is literally killing people,” he said. “And that means we need to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists and mass transit over private automobile use.”
Treyger’s office stressed that the bill is not about catering to drivers, but about holding a city agency accountable for their fiscal responsibilities.
“This is more of a maintenance issue and allowing residents to fight citations and not about discouraging or encouraging any form of transportation over another,” said Maria Henderson, Treyger’s communications director. “This is about fixing a bureaucratic problem and not a traffic problem.”
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