New York City Council Seeks Grace Period for Parking Violations

The New York Times reports that several City Council members announced on Sunday that a bill had been introduced that would create a five-minute grace period before drivers are issued summonses for parking violations like expired meters and alternate-side parking rules.

The bill addresses a longstanding pet peeve among many city lawmakers, whose constituents often complain of feeling victimized by unforgiving traffic agents.

Will a 5 minute grace period actually make a difference?

Will a 5 minute grace period actually make a difference?

“When people park, they shouldn’t have to feel that there are vultures, certain agents, waiting to give them a ticket the moment they are in violation,” said Councilman Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the legislation, which was introduced on Wednesday.

The grace period would apply to parking meters and to places where parking is prohibited during certain times of the day — when streets are being cleaned, for example, or when school is in session — and in periods when parking is allowed only for commercial vehicles or for loading and unloading.

An analysis by The New York Times in November of more than 10 million parking summonses issued in New York City in 2007 found that at least 276,000 drivers received tickets for breaching alternate-side parking rules within five minutes of the rules’ going into effect. Of those, 28,000 were written precisely as the rules took effect, the analysis showed.

Here in the Cafe, we wonder if this proposed bill will actually make a difference or is it merely more in a long list of “feel good” legislation. There is an excellent chance that car owners who violate parking meter rules by not returning to their vehicles on time, would also ignore a 5 minute grace period. What happens then, is the grace period extended to 10 or 15 minutes? When does it end?


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