City Council drive for legal double parking
By SALLY GOLDENBERG
Last Updated: 4:30 AM, June 1, 2010
Posted: 3:09 AM, June 1, 2010
Drivers desperate for parking spots would get a reprieve under a City Council proposal to legalize double parking in certain situations, The Post has learned.
Three members this week are introducing a bill that would permit double parking for drivers waiting for a soon-to-be-vacated space or dropping off or picking up passengers.
The sponsors of the legislation say their push aims to curb a double-parking ticketing blitz that is infuriating their constituents.
"This is not a new phenomenon, that people wait for somebody to pull out of a parking spot. But it seems like what's changed is that common sense has gone out the window in terms of the agents," said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn).
The city has given an increasing number of double-parking tickets each year under Mayor Bloomberg -- from 806,112 in fiscal year 2002 to more than 1.3 million in the last fiscal year.
Gentile, who represents Bay Ridge -- an area where parking spots are notoriously hard to come by -- lamented that some of his constituents have been slapped with the $115 double-parking fine for simply stopping by a doctor's office to drop off a spouse before circling the block for a legal spot.
"They're going around and playing gotcha with people," he said of ticketing agents, who work for the NYPD.
Gentile is introducing the bill -- which is similar to one he pushed in 2005 that went nowhere -- with Democrats David Greenfield of Brooklyn and Peter Vallone of Astoria, who say their constituents are complaining more than ever about zealous ticketing agents.
"It's enforcement gone wild," Vallone said.
"Half the time, they're deserved, but the other half the time, the traffic agents abuse their discretion. Their first priority shouldn't be revenue; it should be making sure that traffic moves safely."
The bill does not address the length of time a driver would be allowed to double-park.
It is unlikely to pass muster with the mayor, who is expected to veto it if it passes the council.
"We can't comment, since we haven't seen the bill, but our approach has been to reduce double parking by reducing the amount of time New Yorkers have to spend alternate-side parking their cars, as we've done already in parts of Brooklyn and The Bronx," said Bloomberg spokesman Marc La Vorgna.
Gentile said he was hopeful Council Speaker Christine Quinn would favor the bill, since she passed a measure last year seeking to pacify frustrated motorists by allowing them five-minute grace periods at expired parking meters.
The mayor vetoed that bill, but the council overrode him.
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