City Council acts to aid motorists

On January 18, the City Council passed the Fair Parkinglegislative package, a trio of bills intended to make parking lessof a headache for residents.

Amid an increasing number of complaints from people in theirdistricts, several City Council members had sought for some time tochange parking and ticketing legislation.

The first bill, Intro 490-A, passed 46-1, will require trafficenforcement agents with electronic devices to cancel tickets beingwritten for vehicles that do not display munimeter receipts, whiletheir owners were paying for time at a munimeter.

Previously, without a valid receipt from a munimeter, a carcould be ticketed, and its owner would have to go through theadjudication process to void the summons. The legislationintroduces a five-minute grace period, for which the car operatorcan show a valid receipt from a munimeter to avoid beingticketed.

A second bill passed by the council also addresses ticketing.Currently, an individual has 30 days to pay a fine; after thisperiod, late fees are added onto the initial ticket amount. Thismeant that people who contested their ticket or who were in theprocess of appealing the court’s decision faced late fees if theprocedures took longer than a month. Intro 546, passed unanimouslyby the Council, will stop the clock on late fees until 30 daysafter a final decision has been made about the validity of theticket.

Such a mechanism can help ease the pain of people like localresident Russell Powers, who feel they have been unfairly ticketed.Last year I was ticketed unfairly during the snow. My car wasburied and the person actually scraped a hole [in the snow] to putthe ticket [on the windshield], Powers recalled.

The final bill in the pack, Intro 546, regarding the use of neonstickers placed on car windows for allegedly violating alternateside of the street parking regulations, was brought before the CityCouncil by lead sponsor, Councilmember David G. Greenfield andunanimously approved.

Once the bill is enacted, the stickers will no longer be placedon vehicles, to the relief of Greenfield who remarked, I’m verygrateful for the leadership of the speaker and the support of mycolleagues on this commonsense piece of legislation. I am pleasedthat these punitive stickers will soon be a thing of the past.Drivers across the city will no longer have to waste their time andeffort undertaking the near-impossible task of removing thesegarish neon stickers.

While the bills have not yet been signed into law, theoverwhelming support they received from councilmembers means thereare enough votes to override a mayoral veto with the necessarytwo-thirds majority.

Nonetheless, residents feel that there is more to be done. DonnaH. commented that the council should examine other aspects ofticketing practices, as well, noting she received a fine when shestopped briefly at a bus stop to help my elderly mother who justhad eye surgery [get out of the car], with no courtesy for thecircumstance given by the traffic enforcement agent.

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