Sanitation Department pushes back on alternate side parking relief
The city’s Sanitation Department trashed a proposal by the City Council to loosen on alternate side parking rules that resulted in more than 1 million tickets to car owners citywide.
Currently, stretches of streets are routinely closed for at least 90 minutes on designated days for sweepers to pass by, sometimes twice. Often, drivers wait out the trucks before moving their cars back to a freshly cleaned curbside.
Most alternate side parking violations come with a $45 summons. Police officials said officers issued 511,286 tickets around the boroughs in the first six months of 2014. Last year, the city issued almost 1.3 million summonses.
Representatives from the Sanitation Department said the understood the frustration with the fining system, but said the proposal would interfere with the work and lead to confusion if residents aren’t aware of how many passes a sweeper intends to make on a given block.
Sanitation officials said many New Yorkers would rather eat the cost of a fine than move the car to a private parking garage, but maintained the department isn’t in the business for the money.
“Our prime objective is to get the street cleaned. period,” Assistant Chief of Cleaning Paul Visconti said at City Hall Monday. “We are not concerned with issuing tickets.”
Nonetheless, Queens City Councilman Costa Constantinides argued his constituents feel like a piggy bank.
“These are reasonable, upset individuals who feel the city is just doing this to ding them,” Constantinides said, adding that garages aren’t an option for many residents. “It’s hurting them financially to get that ticket. That’s why they’re so upset.”
Advocates agreed. Alec Slatky of AAA New York said it’s just about the administration’s will to work with the Council — of which 40 member already support the bill — and heed drivers’ concerns.
“It’s not easy, and nothing is so simple or straight forward,” Slatky said, “but it’s clearly just about bureaucratic inertia.”
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