Last week a Bronx motorist threw a ticket agent's hand-held computer to the ground during an angry dispute over a parking ticket issued minutes after his Muni-Meter expired. "I get a five-minute grace period. It was in the media, today on the news," George Collazo reportedly yelled during the altercation. George, if you're reading this, we regret to inform you that your grace is still denied.
Yesterday Mayor Bloomberg made good on his threat to veto a parking grace period bill passed by the City Council last month by a vote of 47-2. The bill would give drivers an extra five minutes past the expired time on Muni-Meters and alternate-side parking (but not coin-operated, single-space meters.) As he proscribed grace, Hizzoner declared, "While characterized as a 'grace period' to benefit drivers who are rushing to their vehicles, this universal extension of time for drivers would have the practical effect of impeding traffic flow and disrupting street cleaning operations. It would thus have a negative impact on the quality of life for all city residents. Additionally, the bill could generate confusion for drivers and prove difficult to enforce." (You do hate to see that.)
City Councilman Simcha Felder wasn't happy about the veto, and the City Council may override it: "People are getting tired of the gotcha. I'm a big supporter of the mayor's, but I respectfully disagree. The [five-minute grace period] was in effect for many years without anyone having any difficulty." Indeed, there used to be an informal grace period when traffic enforcement was controlled by the DOT. When the NYPD took over, traffic agents were instructed to ticket immediately.
According to an 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.