2001-06-02 / Front Page

Parking Problems, New And Old

Parking Problems, New And Old

By Aaron Zeidman

The beach season has begun in Rockaway, and its arrival heralds the usual perks and pleasantries as well as the usual problems. In addition to the lifeguard shortage and the closure of many Rockaway beaches, parking remains an unresolved issue that keeps local residents driving around in circles, and leaving them nowhere to turn.

Starting May 15, residents begin the frantic hunt for parking spots, walking long distances home through rain or sun, or paying exorbitant fees to keep their cars in a driveway or lot oftentimes more than 5 blocks away.

This year, however, there is a new problem to add to the long list of parking hassles familiar to local residents.

According to a handful of people who wish to remain anonymous, a number of parking tickets have been issued giving faulty information about the location of the violation. This has made these tickets impossible to fight in court, even if the defendant makes a strong case in his or her defense.

For example, on Beach 108 Street on the same block, on the same side of the street, there are four No Parking signs. Two of the signs read No Parking Thursday, and the other two read No Parking Friday. A resident, confused about where to park, received a ticket on Friday for parking next to one of the "Thursday" signs. The defendant clearly documented his case, first with photographs and then with video footage, took the case to court and then made an appeal when the traffic judge upheld the violation. Both judges would not admit the evidence because on the issued ticket the officer claimed the car had been parked on Beach 109 Street, where no such discrepancy in street signs exists.

This resident is not alone. Others have come forward claiming to have received tickets in similar circumstances. In cases where the fault would more likely be attributed to the Department of Transportation, the wrong street address was given by the ticketing officer, and the violations were upheld. Residents are frustrated not only because they feel that the justice system has failed them, but because they wasted a lot of time in the process as well.

Incidentally, the same officer, Officer Courtney of the 100 Precinct, is the one who has been issuing the faulty tickets. No one can say for certain whether or not the errors are intentional or accidental, but whatever the case may be, residents agree that he should be more careful to get the facts straight.

No comment was available from the 100 precinct at this time.

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