Bay Ridge — Al Asfazadour, president of Bay Ridge’s AARP Chapter #5055, said that seniors often have trouble operating the new muni-meters that line the neighborhood’s busiest shopping thoroughfares.
“Have you ever tried to work one of these?” he asked, pointing to a muni-meter on Fifth Avenue and 75th Street last week. “They’re very complicated.”
A New York City law gives motorists a five-minute grace period in which to get a parking receipt from a muni-meter, but two local lawmakers said not enough people know about it. Moreover, it should be a state law, they said.
State Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis held a press conference next to a muni-meter on Fifth Avenue near 75th Street to announce that they are sponsoring bills in their respective legislative houses to expand the city law statewide.
Under their proposal, a driver would get help fighting an unfair parking ticket. If the time stamped on the muni-meter receipt is within five minutes of the time the summons is issued, the motorist has a good weapon with which to fight to get the ticket dismissed, Malliotakis said.
The goal is to protect drivers from overeager traffic enforcement agents who pounce on them, Malliotakis said. Often, a motorist will park the car, walk to a muni-meter to purchase a parking receipt, and receive an unhappy surprise when they return to the vehicle, she said.
“In the time they get back to the car, they’ve received a summons,” she said.
In some cases, there aren’t that many muni-meters on an avenue, according to Malliotakis, who said a driver has to “walk to the next block.”
That gives the enforcement agent more time to issue the summons, she said.
“There are many senior citizens in this community. Obviously, seniors take much longer to get out of their car and walk to a muni-meter,” Malliotakis said.
Golden, who said the bill is “legislation that the City Council did wisely,” said it should be a state law.
“Regulations must take into account that we don’t always get a parking spot right next to a muni-meter machine. While there are many benefits to muni-meters, they have created a new opportunity for motorists to receive unwarranted parking tickets,” he said.
Golden and Malliotakis also said that another purpose of their sidewalk press conference was to bring attention to the city law. The law was passed by the City Council last year and was vetoed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Council overrode the veto and the bill became law. Many residents don’t know about the law and don’t realize that the five-minute grace period exists, the two lawmakers said.
“We want to bring attention to this new law,” Malliotakis said.
“We have a very large senior population,” he said, explaining that older drivers often need more time to figure out the workings of the muni-meter.
— Paula Katinas