Drivers unfairly ticketed, lawmaker charges
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Talk about being in the thick of it!
Drivers are getting unfair parking tickets because of the flimsiness of muni-meter receipts, according to Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who said the thin pieces of paper are blowing away, causing traffic enforcement agents to mistakenly believe that motorists didn’t bother to put money in the meter. As a result, the agent issues a summons to the driver.
The problem, Hikind said, is the flimsiness of the receipts, which are printed on very thin paper.
Hikind (D-Borough Park) said he has received numerous complaints from constituents who told him they pay for a receipt at the muni-meter and display the paper in the dashboard, only to return to the car later and find a parking ticket. It seems the muni-meter receipt blew to the car’s floor when the driver closed the door, Hikind said.
Hikind said he has a simple solution to the thin receipt dilemma: thicker receipts.
After receiving numerous complaints from constituents about their muni-meter receipts blowing to the floor or blowing away, Hikind contacted Polly Trottenberg, the newly appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and asked her to consider using thicker paper for the receipts.
Thicker paper is utilized in other countries such as Israel where muni-meters are common, according to Hikind.
“Our office has received calls from a number of constituents who complain that they have received parking summonses even after having properly purchased and displayed a muni-meter receipt on their dashboard,” Hikind said. “Upon inspection, they discovered that their receipts had either flipped over or had been blown to the floor. This likely occurred when they closed their car door. The problem is even worse during times of heavy wind. It is a shame to penalize people who are attempting to follow the rules and regulations. The addition of muni-meters has been helpful. They’ve added numerous potential parking spaces in our community and in other neighborhoods. But there is always room for improvement and improving this situation seems easy."
DOT officials didn’t seem to embrace Hikind’s idea.
Scott Gastel, a DOT spokesman, told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email that the agency has used the same type of paper for nearly 20 years and that there haven’t been a lot of complaints from motorists about the muni-meter program.
Drivers who do receive summonses they believe are unfair can challenge the tickets, Gastel said.