2009-05-08 / Editorial/Opinion

8,000 Parking Tickets Seem Excessive

Last year, Rockaway residents racked up more than 8,000 parking tickets, a number that seems excessive when matched to much larger and economically active communities that received roughly the same number. This year, the number is up once again and, if the mayor's minions can be believed, the number of tickets and the amount of fines levied against locals will only continue to rise each year. The numbers seem startling: from January 1 to April 26 of last year, motorists in the 101 Precinct received 2,990 tickets. This year, that number is up to 3,152. There are like increases in the 100 Precinct, where the number of tickets issued went to 2,907 from 2,261. Picture what the numbers will look like when we are in summer, at our peak parking period. At a recent briefing, Mark Page, the city's budget director, told City Council members that the addition of 220 traffic enforcement agents was designed for a single purpose - to drive up revenue and not to enhance enforcement. The use of parking tickets as a revenue stream is reprehensible. Traffic Enforcement Agents all have their "favorites," places that they know "illegal" parking occurs each day - shopping streets, schools, churches and synagogues. Unfortunately, those are the places where Rockaway residents congregate, the places that boost our quality of life. While the mayor pushes the idea that he loves the middle class in his high-priced reelection ads, in reality, by using tickets as a revenue stream, he is forcing the middle class to go elsewhere for shopping and other amenities, places where tickets are used for enforcement and not as a revenue stream.

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