Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alternate Side Ambiguity and Unequal Enforcement

It seems that there is an unspoken tolerance of double parking during alternate side street cleaning regulations. I have never double parked during the alternate side hours in the past, because there is no standard and published policy that seems to indicate that I would not receive a ticket. I do my best to have my vehicle parked in the appropriate spot for the following day so I do not have to move it during the regulation. Due to my diligence and law-abiding practices I have in the past been blocked in by double-parkers who are never ticketed. I have literally been unable to leave for an appointment because illegal (and un-ticketed) double-parkers have boxed my vehicle in. This has happened in the presence of parking agents who did nothing.

March 24, 2009, I had an appointment at noon, which I needed to get to on time. To avoid being boxed in I parked on the side of the street that was being cleaned. Upon my return, alternate side was still in effect and I was unable to find a parking spot on the appropriate side. I decided reluctantly to double-park, as scores of people do every day, and assumed that the policy that seemed to apply to others would also apply to me. Unfortunately it seems the parking authority selectively enforces its policies.

I witnessed a parking agent waiting on
Perry Avenue and 201st Street during alternate side hours who was not ticketing double parked cars. I assumed that this dereliction in the agent’s duty would apply to me as well. While I was on the way to move my car at 1:00pm, my 13 month old daughter required attention and I was unable to get to the car until 1:15pm. I was shocked to find a ticket on my vehicle timed at 1:01pm. I find it unconscionable that the parking agent would not enforce the parking rules at 12:59pm, but then ticket my car at 1:01pm. Are parking agents allowed to be derelict in their duties between certain hours? If this is so, it would be helpful if an official policy were created and published so that taxpayers know when agents are being paid to not do their jobs. A clear and published policy on this matter would have allowed me to avoid this ticket.

Is anybody else frustrated with the alternate side frequency and the lack of clear policies on what taxpayers can do with their vehicles legally during alternate side hours?

Check out this great article from September by our favorite City Room contributor, David Gonzalez, about the Moral Theology of Double Parking.


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