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What Should James Vacca’s Pet Peeve Committee Tackle Next?

12:39 PM EDT on November 2, 2011

Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca rallies to keep parking prices low last December.

James Vacca is redefining the role of the City Council Transportation Committee.

If you're concerned about issues such as the gradual collapse of the transit system, the scandalous waste of taxpayer money used to subsidize parking for billion-dollar businesses, or the shocking injustices suffered by victims of traffic violence, there isn't much on the agenda for you. On the other hand, if you’re a car owner who's distraught over the appearance of bike lanes, or who perceives the enforcement of parking laws as a personal affront, Vacca's committee is at your service.

The latest indignity to garner the attention of the committee is the sticker that the Department of Sanitation attaches to the windows of cars that impede city street sweepers. While it seems like a distinctly Noo Yawk brand of poetic justice -- your car trashes up the city, the city trashes up your car -- according to Vacca and fellow City Council Member David Greenfield, it is insult added to injury.

"A $60 ticket or $65…is enough," says Vacca (the fine is $45 to $65, depending on location). "The sticker is cruel, the sticker is overkill, it is unnecessary, it is excessive."

"It's really cruel and unusual," agrees Greenfield, who has proposed a bill to eliminate the stickers.

Though sanitation officials say the sticker, in use since 1988, is a more effective deterrent than a fine -- a point arguably bolstered by the hyperbole employed to condemn it -- the safe money says the council will again bow to drivers who flout the law and order the policy altered or abandoned.

Assuming the suggestion box is open to all New Yorkers, and not just the affluent car-owning minority, what transportation-related policies do you consider "cruel and unusual"? No gripe is too trifling for Vacca's Pet Peeve Committee.

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