Council Considers Eliminating Truck Parking Fines (Update #2)

138888506_3308c5eff5.jpg

UPDATE: Intro 637 has been tabled. There will be no council vote today.

As of this writing, the City Council is scheduled to vote today to codify a Department of Finance program that makes it cheaper — and in some cases free — for commercial trucks to park illegally.

The DOF Stipulated Fine Program, started in 2004, includes a secret fine schedule for
participants which eliminates fines for many parking violations,
including double parking and parking at expired meters. (In other
words, truckers in the program can park forever at an expired meter.) It
also reduces fines for dangerous parking activity like blocking a fire
hydrant, parking in a traffic lane, parking on the sidewalk, blocking a
crosswalk, and parking in a bike lane.

In return, businesses in the program agree not to contest fines for
these and other violations, thereby maximizing revenues for the city
while encouraging illegal parking.

Intro 637, introduced by
David Yassky, David Weprin and Simcha Felder, would convert the
controversial Department of Finance program, which was begun in 2004, from a regulation into a
permanent city law.

City sources say the Stipulated Fine Program is unpopular with NYPD and DOT, as it undermines enforcement and street management efforts and contradicts the city’s sustainability goal of using sound parking policy to reduce traffic and air pollution. The timing of the bill — which appears to be at DOF’s behest — is especially odd, given that such efforts are already hampered by the defeat of congestion pricing, and since DOT and NYPD are beginning to work together on traffic policy. Instead of improving truck access to curbs by encouraging DOT to
raise meter rates during peak periods and meter free parking spaces, the
City Council appears ready to lock in the dysfunction that currently
reins at street level.

UPDATE: Here is a PDF of Intro 637 along with the Stipulated Fine Program violation fee schedule (pages 6-9). On the schedule, the "COMM-ABATT" columns list fines prescribed by the Commercial Abatement Program, which is available to companies that are ineligible for deeper Stipulated Fine discounts. (Column A represents areas outside Midtown; column B is Midtown.) On pages 4 and 5 is a FOIL request submitted to the Department of Finance by Transportation Alternatives, which was necessary to obtain the fee schedule.

Here is City Council testimony by DOF Commissioner Martha E. Stark from February and April.

Photo: kerfuffle & zeitgeist/Flickr

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

No Parking Slope

|
The B67 bus veers around a double-parked van blocking a car parked in front of a fire hydrant as a Bugaboo-pushing nanny strolls by Councilmember David Yassky and Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White calling for more sensible parking policy this afternoon in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Every drivers knows that it can be nearly impossible […]

First Post-Election Business for City Council: Making Traffic Worse

|
Looks like the City Council is ready to assert itself in the wake of Michael Bloomberg’s underwhelming re-election to a third term. They’ve chosen to draw a line in the sand, apparently, by creating more congestion on New York City’s streets. To signal their displeasure with law enforcement, Council members David Weprin, Simcha Felder, and […]

City Council Members: Down With Parking Enforcement

|
Councilmen Weprin, Felder, and Gentile protest the injustice of enforcing the law. Photo: Daily Politics Sick of walking around cars parked on the sidewalk? Fed up with the excessive traffic cruising for parking spots in your neighborhood? Tough luck. A gaggle of City Council members has got nothing for you, but they do want to […]

Fifth Ave BID, CB6 District Manager Take Aim at Park Slope Bike Lane

|
Fifth Avenue in Park Slope on a weekday morning. What’s wrong with this picture? Photo: Ben Fried. Just about every New York City neighborhood has to deal with the consequences of dirt cheap on-street parking. When you practically give away spaces at rock-bottom prices, it guarantees double parking and endless cruising for spots by bargain […]

Details of the Mayor’s Residential Parking Permit Proposal

|
Potential residential parking permit stickers, curbside regulations, and David Yassky. Here are some more details about the residential parking permit program proposed today by Mayor Bloomberg and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan: A residential parking permit (RPP) plan will be included in the congestion pricing legislation that will be introduced in the City Council and State […]