Daily News, Betsy Gotbaum Come to the Aid of Parking Ticket Victims

newstix1.jpgYesterday we noted how it took a cyclist-involved collision to get the Daily News riled up over pedestrian fatalities. Regaining its senses, the paper today again turns its attention to the real victims: motorists. Specifically those who park illegally and are indiscriminately ticketed for doing so.

Bronx business owners say parking agents are harassing customers and hindering revenue, and are demanding action from electeds and calling for an investigation by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. Says Margaret Arrighi, head of the Bronx Business Alliance: "They wait for you to park. They come up from behind, like a tiger waiting for its prey."

According to the News, the animalistic stalkers have even killed.

The meeting [between business owners and officials] follows what has now become city lore – the death of Leo Magnotta, 64, who suffered a heart attack in May while arguing with traffic enforcement supervisors when he was issued a ticket while double-parked and waiting for his wife outside a Subway sandwich shop at 3714 E. Tremont Ave.

In the interest of "on the other hand" journalism, even murderous thugs deserve a sentence in their defense. Here it is:

Craig Chin, a spokesman for the city Department of Transportation, said that double-parking is illegal at all times, because it is a safety issue.

But back to the crisis at hand. Included in the News exposé is a handy sidebar (above) with suggestions on how to beat a parking ticket. Note that the final tip is from Gotbaum’s office. That’s right: so serious is the problem of ticketing for illegal parking that the city’s public advocate is now issuing advice on how to escape it. (Eggheaded twits might suggest that variable-rate parking would be a fairer, more efficient solution, but now is the time for action, not ideas.)

If all else fails, we suggest invoking the method preferred by that of infamous defender of motorist privilege, State Senator Jeff Klein: "Get your hands off my car, you fucking asshole."

  • Paul

    Park a car in the middle of the street and don’t expect a ticket? Ha ha. You wouldn’t think of doing that in many cities. I’ve lived in Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Boston and New York, and you wouldn’t think of doing that on the west coast and expect to get away with it.

  • mike

    Ms Gotbaum, how is enabling illegal and dangerous use of motor vehicles advocating for the public? Someone is failing to see the big picture here.

  • No wonder she was not much help when I asked them to look in to people who park on the sidewalk in my neighborhood.

  • Oh– I hope some of you call the office– I just did. It’d be nice if they got a slew of calls from people who are upset by this. Too often illegal parking goes unticketed. Especially in the Bronx. I’d like to see a feature about what you can do if people are parking illegally and the police won’t do anything about it.

  • Many if not most of these motorists are “forced” to illegally park because all of the legal spaces are taken. freeing up curbspace, however, requires higher parking rates. So, motorists and pols of NYC, make a choice: do you want higher parking rates or a steady flow of parking tickets?

  • James

    The rampant double parking is a NYC thing. I’ve lived elsewhere and nowhere else is it so common and so tolerated by the police (as is the case with most everything else that motorists do here). If the NYPD really cracked down on this there would be a revolt.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    I liked Betsy Gotbaum better when she was merely useless and invisible.

  • Jeffrey Hymen

    I think the some of the posters above are missing the nuance of some of the anecdotes in the article, stories that remind me of one I heard from someone on my staff last week. She was the passenger in a car on a major (and generally slow-moving) commercial street in Brooklyn. The driver stopped, my colleague got out of the car, and as the driver prepared to drive away, a traffic agent stopped the car and issued a ticket for double-parking. Nobody was parking! Having heard this story, I maybe was more sensitive to what I think some of the people who are quoted in the Daily News are talking about … that kind of “over-zealousness.”

  • Ian Turner

    Obviously I don’t know anything about the circumstances, but if it’s a no stopping zone, that certainly includes passenger loading and unloading. Rather than lobbying for not enforcing the law (however zealously), a better question is how we can design our streets so as to accommodate the needs of all street users without pushing them to lawbreaking.

  • We could use a little of that “over-zealousness” up here by Yankee Stadium– The tickets just don’t get written and all I ever get are tepid letters saying “we’re working on it…”


    They say they’ll “direct more attention to that block” –as if that block was the **only** thing we cared about.

    I got this letter via the advocates office– their idea of “taking action” consisting of soliciting this tepid letter about the already dysfunctional “parking detail” assigned to the area. That one hydrant is no longer blocked but every other hydrant in the area is blocked. It’s like that gophers game they have at amusement parks. Smack one down and six more pop up.

    At least baseball season is over– *sigh*

  • Joe Knickerbocker

    I just love the presumptuousness of the commenters here.

    This just might be the best thing Gotbaum did for the past seven years.

    You guys have no right to declare what is “illegal”. Judges do that.
    Judge not lest ye be judged. Innocent till proven guilty. All that boring stuff.

    And it our duty, our duty, as citizens to fight what we perceive as an unjust application of the law by bureaucrats (TEA).

    Perhaps if bikes began to get ticketed, you’d understand.

    But, I forgot, you are opposed to bikes who may break the law being ticketed. How convenient.

  • Sam n

    I’ve noticed that drivers will often double park when there is a legitimate space avaliable. Perhaps they’re afraid of other people double parking and boxing them in, so they engage in a defensive double park maneuver. It’s pretty sick when double parking is so bad that people will double park to avoid being double parked on.

  • Serve the public; build municipal parking garages.

  • nobody

    Sorry Douglas, but taking away large amounts of land to serve a tiny minority, while generating thousands of car trips a week doesn’t count as serving the public.

  • Uh dude you do understand the concept of garages — e.g multi story garages — versus parking lots.

    Long ago cities evolved by building multiple levels.

    The same can and should happen for vehicles, but for the selfish elitists who hold the public benefit back for the sake of what really are counter reformation transportation policies.

  • nobody

    Sure do understand the concept of multi-story garages. Still too much land taken up by a use that deteriorates the area around it. And why should tax dollars go to subsidizing a mode of transportation so damaging to our communities and health?

    Sorry, the only “selfish elitists” are those who want to cram more automobiles into our towns and cities.

    And please don’t bring your anti-Catholic bigotry into the discussion.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    Have you, like me, made the mistake of reading any of Douglas Willinger’s stuff? He is not a sane or rational player, he doesn’t have a readership or a following, and he doesn’t hold sway with anyone in any position of power or influence. I’d suggest ignoring him.

  • Thomas J. Hillgardner

    That many persons involved in this discussion seem to assume that all parking tickets issued in the City of New York are issued to persons parking illegally is quite disturbing. Wake up people. Thousands of parking tickets are issued every day in this City where the motorist is not in violation. This is designed to make up for all of the parking meter revenue lost by issuing tens of thousands of special parking permits to city employees, politicans, their staffs, and others who are well connected and who park at parking meters nine to five. Many of these summonses issued to persons not actually parking illegally are paid and are not challenged. The City makes lots of money issuing bogus tickets. There is pressure on both police officers and traffic enforcement agents (TEAs) to meet “expectations.” These agents issue tickets with an attitude of “well if you think its wrong you can always fight it” when the summons should not be issued in the first instance if its issuance is unjustified.

    I do not own a car and mostly get around by public transportation and by walking. Double parkers deserve no sympathy; it is a particularly selfish offense. More than half the time when I see a double parker with an operator behind the wheel there is a fire hydrant available within 100 feet (where it is legal to stand provided the operator is behind the wheel). But they want to double park right in front of the store their passenger is in. The worst are the people who stop and stand double parked at a bus stop. Off with their heads! This is just pigish selfishness. Thus, I think Betsy Gotbaum is choosing the wrong case to come to the aid of motorists aggrieved by the parking ticket war on car owners.

    What Betsy Gotbaum should be doing is bringing a stop to the illegal practice of TEAs filing parking tickets issued for no standing and when the operator moves the vehicle before the TEA serves the parking ticket on the operator. Presently, even though the failure of proper service of a parking ticket is fatal to the jurisdiction of the parking violations bureau to adjudicate liability, the City directs the TEAs to file these tickets in violation of state law and the PVB assumes jurisdiction over these alleged parking violations. The “notice of outstanding parking violations” (received by the registered owner of the vehicle around forty days after the summons is issued) is the first notice the owner receives that he may be held liable for a parking offense committed over a month ago, perhaps many miles away from his home, and perhaps by a person otehr than himself. That the car drove away is some evidence that it was not standing. I have seen cases where TEAs issue summonses for “no standing” at a location where no signs post any parking regulation and where the motorist drives away before the TEA was able to obtain the registration expiration date (a mandatory element of a parking ticket the absence of which requires its dismissal) or even got within 35 feet of the vehicle. I have seen PVB ALJs uphold these so-called “drive away” summonses in violation of state law. I have seen dozens of drive away tickets issued, was issued one when I used to own a car, and personally observed a TEA issuing one earlier this month. Now with the new “block the box” parking ticket, there will be an explosion in the prosecution of parking tickets issued but never served as required by law. And, to be clear, I very much support enforcement of “block the box” laws; I just oppose dispensing with prompt issuance to the motorist of notice of the offense charged.

    It would be nice if the cyclist and pedestrian lobby didn’t throw a party every time a car is ticketed in this City. People are only responding to direct and indirect federal subsidies of the automobile industry that makes it economically foolish for them NOT to buy a car. More than 1/3 of all parking tickets contested are defeated by the motorist. Have mercy on the lot of your fellow man.

  • gecko

    #17 Thomas J. Hillgardner, Might be much more effective if you consider advocating for great transportation in this town where automobile travel would be completely impractical, passé, and make even less sense than it does today.

  • I can’t say that I’ve ever gotten a ticket that I didn’t deserve…and was able to get some of them dismissed or reduced on technicalities. 

    We seem to be becoming a nation of adult children who get frustrated and throw tantrums when the bad man or the bad lady give us a summons for illegal parking. 


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