Today the City Council is expected to pass two laws that would give motorists more wiggle room when fighting parking tickets. The first bill would create a five-minute grace period for drivers for certain no parking zones, such as alternate side parking regulations and expired Muni-Meters. (The bill does not include regular coin-operated, single-space meters, seen failing here.) A second piece of legislation would require the DOT to post notices of new and changed parking restrictions in affected neighborhoods and online up to one week in advance. (Last October, Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg were outraged when the DOT wrote tickets for over 90 vehicles that were violating new parking regulations—on a Saturday.)
But Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to veto the grace period bill, telling reporters today, "I will veto that. I think it’s a very misguided piece of legislation. A five-minute grace period is only going to lead to chaos and enormous increases in the number of contested tickets, and in argument. Whose watch are you going to use?" And Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White says, "I fail to see how the hands of a wristwatch—no two of which seem to read the same time in this town—are a fairer judge than a clearly expired parking meter. This is irresponsible pandering that will lead to more arguments at the curbside, and a profusion of illegal parking."
According to an extensive analysis conducted by the Times last year, almost 300,000 alternate side violations were issued within five minutes of the rule taking effect in 2007. Of those, nearly 28,000 tickets were issued exactly on the hour that the rule went into effect. In a statement, Council Member Simcha Felder, one of the bills' sponsors, said, "Anyone with common sense and decency understands the need for a five-minute grace period to eliminate ‘gotcha’ tickets."