Gentile asks, ‘Why do we have to feed parking meters?’

You have probably heard a radio traffic reporter announce on a holiday that “alternate side is suspended but you still have to feed the meters.” Councilman Vincent Gentile has heard it too, and he said it makes no sense to him.

New York City has a split personality when it comes to parking regulations on a holiday, according to Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst). While the city suspends alternate side of the street parking regulations for a day, it still enforces meter rules.

This dichotomy leaves drivers confused, Gentile said.

 If you don't have to move your car on a holiday, you shouldn’t have to feed the meter either, Gentile said.

He has introduced legislation that would effectively end the confusing and costly parking meter regulation on holidays.

His bill, Local Law No. 868, would suspend parking meter regulations citywide on all legal and religious holidays when the city suspends alternate side parking rules.

Gentile said he is even more determined to change the parking rules after he witnessed what he called “a ticket massacre” on the President’s Day Holiday.

“As I was driving around the district and running errands, I saw no less than three traffic agents writing ‘gotcha’ tickets at parking meters within a span of four blocks,” Gentile said. “These agents are preying on the public. They are boosting revenue for the city, nothing more and nothing less. It’s absolutely despicable,” he said.

Gentile said he sees the proposed legislation as another step in an effort to stop the city’s never-ending “gotcha” mentality. Residents are tired of paying the consequences for another confused and perplexing law, he said.

“It is my responsibility to make sure that residents are safeguarded against being made targets of ticketing agents who want to close the city’s budget gap on the backs of taxpayers. Instead of making people partners in keeping our streets safe, they are being treated like ATM’s for the city’s insatiable coffers,” he said.

The New York Post reported on Feb. 20 that the city has actually been giving out fewer parking tickets. The Post cited statistics from the Department of Finance. The total number of parking tickets dropped from 9.9 million in 2009 to just under 9.3 million in 2010 and 8.8 million in 2011, the Post reported.

Anna Grimaldi, a Bensonhurst resident, said she finds that hard to believe. “Every time I turn around, I see somebody arguing with the agent over a ticket. I think they’re giving out more tickets, not less,” she said, as she put money into a muni-meter on 18th Avenue.