Op-Ed: Traffic Enforcement: Dollars vs. Sense

Parents at public and private schools in our community have reported “double parking” ticketing blitzes during drop-off and pick-up times.

And this is happening all across the borough. A member of my staff was driving through Canarsie last week and witnessed the same exact thing: ticket agents on the prowl like hungry lions hunting for prey. It’s become an all-too-familiar sight to see three or four traffic agents furiously writing tickets within a span of five blocks.

Time and again, I have admonished these ticketing raids because they simply do not discriminate between cars safely pulling over and those cars that actually cause problems by making dangerous turns or mindlessly triple-parking on busy streets.

The enactment of any law is supposed to be about public safety, not profit. We are told we do not have the enforcement resources to crack down on speeding, reckless driving, DUI, unlicensed driving, and failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, but apparently we’ve got an army of agents at our disposal to write tickets for people dropping off family members at the doctor’s office and parents picking their kids up at school!

Parking enforcement agents are employing a “gotcha!” mentality while throwing common sense and courtesy out the window. And let’s be frank, tickets written from predatory and whim-based enforcement are nothing more than another back-door tax. These summonses have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with making money. The city has got it backwards.

In 2010, I joined Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr. in introducing a bill that would make it legal to double-park or “stand” temporarily while dropping off or picking up passengers, or while waiting for a spot to open up on the block.

This bill would, for example, allow an elderly spouse to double-park temporarily in order to discharge the other spouse without risking a summons. Also, unsuspecting motorists who pull up to wait behind a car that is in the process of leaving a parking space could no longer be subject to a double-parking ticket. Unfortunately, we are being forced to legislate common sense!

As your councilman, it is my job to make sure that residents are safeguarded against being made targets of ticketing agents who want to close the city’s budget gap on the backs of taxpayers. Instead of making people partners in keeping our streets safe for all, they are being treated like ATMs for the city’s insatiable coffers.

We are all wise to their game and it’s time for it to end!

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile represents the 43rd Council District.

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