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Legal Double Parking in School Zones — What Is Joel Rivera Thinking?

4:58 PM EST on January 10, 2013

While the City Council sits on a package of bills to make city streets safer, Joel Rivera proposes one to make them more dangerous.

City Council Member Joel Rivera is taking some heat for a bill that would, in his words, "allow parents to double park when picking up their kids from school [and] not receive a parking ticket.” It's the latest answer to a question no one asked from a council whose raison d'être seems to be absolving city motorists of as many responsibilities as possible.

Specifically, Intro 997 states:

[I]t shall be permissible for an individual to double park a motor vehicle with its engine off for up to five minutes in a roadway immediately adjacent to any school while a student at such school is being dropped off at such school by such motorist, and for up to ten minutes while such motorist waits to pick up or is in the process of picking up a student from such school. This section shall not apply where movement of such vehicle is required by an on duty emergency service vehicle.

Can you imagine traffic enforcement agents clocking how long individual motorists are sitting in front of schools? In effect, this bill would make it legal to double park in school zones, period.

As we wrote earlier today, the first known pedestrian fatality of 2013 occurred in Rivera's council district, where roughly 75 percent of households are car-free. This bill isn't doing his constituents, or anyone else, any favors.

Double-parked cars create "blind spots." They lead to jostling and unpredictable vehicle movements as drivers attempt to pass. Does it really need to be said that this is not what you want in areas populated by kids? That kids are small and are often not seen until they are in a driver's path? That kids don't have the same ability to judge speed and distance as do adults?

If there is one place in the city where motorists most deserve tickets for double parking, it's outside a school.

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