2009-03-06 / Top Stories

Ticket Blitz Riles Rockaway Parents

By Howard Schwach

Traffic Enforcement Agent A. Kaushal writing a ticket for a car as the parent waits in the schoolyard to pick up a child on Tuesday. Traffic Enforcement Agent A. Kaushal writing a ticket for a car as the parent waits in the schoolyard to pick up a child on Tuesday. One parent said that she got three in the past month.

Another woman, standing next to her in the PS 114 schoolyard, said that she had a half-dozen for this school year.

A third, the parent of a first-grade student, said that he had three from PS 114 and another four from St. Francis de Sales, where his nephew goes to school.

Others joined in the conversation, regaling the group with stories of arrogant traffic enforcement agents and an uncaring bureaucracy.

What sparked the conversation among those parents standing on the snowy PS 114 playground at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday was the fact that a traffic enforcement agent had just come down Beach 134 Street and begun to give tickets to the parents who had admittedly parked illegally at the snowy curbfor a few minutes in order to pick up their children.

One parent, who had just watched a traffic enforcement agent give her car a ticket, felt helpless to leave and speak with the agent, because her daughter was due to get out of school any minute.

"This is what we get from the city," she said angrily. "The snow is packed up against the street, there are no empty spaces, even around the corner, and I can't leave my five-year-old to fend for herself, and I don't want the teacher to take her back into the building. If she doesn't see me here when she gets out, she'll panic."

"The mayor is forcing the middle class out of the city with all of these tickets and summonses. I got a ticket from the Sanitation Department last week because I put an old newspaper in with the garbage," a parent said. "Then, in the afternoon, I got a ticket parking near the school to pick up my son."

Rockaway is not alone in this school ticket blitz.

Parents in Rego Park recently demonstrated outside their children's school because of the spate of $115 tickets they received while dropping off or picking up their children.

One Rego Park parent told the Daily News reporter that she had received three tickets in one week for parking illegally while picking up her child at a local pre-school unit.

"There is no place to park [near the school]," the parent said. "Sometimes they leave another person in the car, but it doesn't matter. They get the ticket anyway."

On Tuesday, at PS 114, a parent who was standing in the schoolyard, not ten feet from his car, saw a traffic enforcement agent named Kaushal giving his car a ticket.

When he left the playground and confronted the agent with the fact that there was snow on the ground and no place to park, further stating that he would be there for just a few minutes, the agent gave him the ticket anyway, telling the parent that he was getting the ticket because he was parked within three feet of a hydrant, even though the street markings were obliterated by the snow and it was hard to tell the actual distance, according to the parent.

The driver took the ticket and also took a photo of the agent.

"What do they expect us to do," the parent, who asked not to be identified, said. "There is no parking within blocks. What parking there is available is snowed in. We have to pick up our kids. There is no answer."

One of the parents in the schoolyard, however, may have provided what others agreed was an answer, and that is for the city to allow parking within three blocks of a school during the morning drop-off and afternoon pickup periods.

"That solution would work," one of the parents in the school agreed. "All we need is a chance to safely get our kids."

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