Gentile demands traffic agents back off

Double parking is illegal. But is it okay if it’s being done by a parent dropping off a child at school?

Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst) said yes, it is.

Gentile is putting a spotlight on what he said is a ticket blitz being conducted by overzealous traffic enforcement agents in his district. The agents can’t tell the difference between a parent double parking for a few seconds to drop off a child at school and a reckless motorist double parking because they don’t care about safety on the roadway, according to Gentile.

Parents at public and private schools in Bay Ridge and other neighborhoods have recently reported double parking ticketing blitzes during drop-off and pick-up time at their children’s schools.

Gentile blasted these so-called ticketing raids, arguing that the agents should discriminate between cars safely pulling over to drop off or pick up children and those cars that actually cause problems by dangerously double or triple parking.

“Parking enforcement agents are exercising a gotcha mentality – not common sense,” Gentile said. “This is another back-door tax, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with making money off tickets. This is nothing more than whim-based enforcement – let’s call it what it is,” he said.

In 2010, Gentile and Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. (D-Astoria) co-sponsored a double parking bill that would make it legal to temporarily double park a vehicle while dropping off or picking up passengers, or while waiting for a spot to open up on the block. If passed, this bill would allow parents to double park a vehicle temporarily while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers.

“Safety needs to be our top priority when our children are concerned – unfortunately it’s obvious that Traffic Enforcement Officers have a completely different agenda. It’s time they start using common sense in issuing tickets and stop using New Yorkers are their personal ATM machines,” Gentile said.

The New York Police Department, which oversees traffic enforcement agents, had no comment.