Mayor Bill De Blasio is not happy about the parking debacle in his city. It’s a well-known fact that the city has strict rules about parking. Parking on a street in New York is sure to end costing more than the meter fee. Parking fines are as common as the soft pretzels and hot dogs sold on city street corners. But there are people in the city that are privileged parkers. They have placards that give them the right to park in “no parking areas.” The police, school teachers, and other city workers sometimes use placards the wrong way. The mayor is cracking down on those civil servants with the wrath of a tyrant. Bill de Blasio promised to punish any civil worker who unlawfully uses city streets, bus stops, fire hydrants, and sidewalks as legal parking places.
Mayor De Blasio said the city would enforce parking rules the same way for everyone, and that means treating parking spots around police precincts and schools the same way other no-parking areas are treated. Placard abuse has to stop, according to the mayor. He recently told an audience in the Bronx that “Public employees don’t get to be above the law.” He also said using placards the wrong way was an insult to the people of New York City.
New York City issues more than 150,000 official placards. But there are fake cards and labor unions pass out unofficial placards in some parts of the city. The union placards are not that special because they don’t give people exclusive parking privileges. But the NYPD rarely gives those people tickets even though they are parked illegally. The mayor plans to retrain police officers so they issue parking tickets to placard abusers.
De Blasio also said the police department will create a dedicated enforcement unit, and 100 new agents will be responsible for citing offending vehicles along with the agents who are already working to correct the placard abuse issue. The mayor is also creating a $100 special fine for placard abuse. That fine will be added to the cost of the parking violation.
The city will have computerized license-plate scanners in three years. The scanners are capable of electronically sweeping the streets, and they will identify who’s parked legally and who isn’t. Mayor De Blasio will be able to sleep a little better when those scanners become a reality.