On Monday the City Council passed a bill that would give motorists a five minute grace period on parking tickets issued at Muni-Meters or when a vehicle is in violation of alternate side parking regulations. Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to veto it, but the Council approved it 47 to 2, and they only need a two-thirds vote to override a veto, meaning the law could very well take effect in 90 days. Will "chaos" reign, as Bloomberg predicts, or will motorists receive a welcome relief from "parking enforcement officers hiding behind the bushes, waiting for the meter to run out," as one parking commissioner in White Plains puts it?
Critics say the grace period will only inflame the already heated arguments between traffic agents and car owners, but the bill’s sponsor, Councilman Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, tells the Times, "They’re issuing tickets now and no one is confused about the time, right? If they say it’s 9:01 and a taxpayer says it’s 8:59, the taxpayer is still getting the ticket, so whatever you do now you’ll continue doing." And one traffic agent, who gave an anonymous quote to the Times, believes the grace period "will make people more happy" and "will make my job easier."
White Plains and Miami have had grace periods for years, and there used to be an informal grace period when traffic enforcement was controlled by the DOT. When the NYPD took over, traffic agents were instruct to ticket immediately, and a recent study found that many agents issued tickets at the exact moment the time expires. Bloomberg has thirty days to veto the bill, but Bay Ridge Councilman Vincent Gentile tells the Brooklyn Eagle, "We’re confident that we have enough votes to override his veto."