Idling Parents and Idle Minds

Protect our children - Turn off your engine

Protect our children - Turn off your engine

From the NY News

Motorists who idle their engines by a school for more than a minute will risk a $100 fine under a City Council bill passed yesterday. The measure is aimed at curbing exhaust pollution that feeds the city’s asthma epidemic, backers say.

Opponents blasted the one-minute rule as another excuse to slap motorists with revenue-raising tickets. “I’ve seen school parents victimized,” City Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx) said in voting against the bill.

“I’ve seen traffic agents waiting like locusts,” he said.

Councilman James Oddo (R-S.I.) voted for the bill, saying it might help control parents who swoop down on local schools twice daily to deliver or pick up their kids.

City law sets a three-minute idling limit at schools, but it’s enforced largely by the Department of Environmental Protection against diesel-fueled vehicles.

The new one-minute rule will cover idling by autos and trucks “adjacent to any public or nonpublic school providing instruction from pre-K through 12th grade.”

A companion bill, passed 40 to 6, gives ticketing authority for idling to the NYPD, Parks Department, Sanitation Department and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Mayor Bloomberg will sign both bills, a spokesman said.


Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg’s cuts

Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg's cuts

Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg's cuts


Monday, January 26th 2009, 4:00 AM
Adams for News

Mayor Bloomberg said last year he’d crack down on elected officials who have designated parking spaces for themselves or their staffs outside their offices, but some pols still have the perk.

Mayor Bloomberg yanked free parking spots from a handful of elected officials last year – but borough presidents, the city controller and other pols still enjoy the perk, the Daily News found.

Bloomberg ordered the crackdown after the Daily News reported exclusively last summer that four City Council members had signs outside their district offices reserving spaces for “Council Vehicles.”

But city officials decided to leave in place nearly 200 spaces near City Hall and borough offices for borough presidents, the city controller and state officials like the governor and attorney general.

“We eliminated unnecessary parking privileges for elected officials’ offices, retaining spaces only at municipal hubs that have a high number of employees conducting official business,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement.

The explanation didn’t sit right with advocates who rail against the impact of cars on city streets.

“Frequently, the major government hubs are also major transit hubs,” said Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that’s done studies showing city employees are more likely to drive to work than private employees.

“It’s an indefensible perk for a preferred few.”

Some pols lost the parking perk, including Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens) and Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan); Councilwoman Helen Foster (D-Bronx), and Councilmen Al Vann and David Yassky, both Brooklyn Democrats.

Most of the spaces were installed before the current officeholders were elected.

“It’s not something she lobbied for,” said spokesman Dan Andrews of the 31 spots reserved for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall near her Kew Gardens office. “If you get elected and the spot is here, you may as well use it.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, whose office has 12 spaces in downtown Brooklyn, said his staff needs the spaces to access the sprawling borough.

Other pols disputed the city’s count of parking spaces.

A spokesman for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said his office gets only seven spaces for hundreds of investigators (the city puts the number of spaces at 13).

A spokeswoman for state Controller Thomas DiNapoli said the controller didn’t even know about the four spots in lower Manhattan that are a relic from before the controller’s office moved to midtown.

City Controller William Thompson, a mayoral hopeful, says he has far fewer than the 26spots the city claims are setaside for his staff and suggested that politics are behind the discrepancy.

“The material you received from Mayor Bloomberg’s administration is clearly wrong and one could easily question the motive,” Thompson spokesman Jeff Simmons said.

Thompson himself parks off the street in a spot reserved for him at the Municipal Building.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also have off-street spaces adjacent to that building.

With Rachel Monahan

New York Daily News

Thieves target running cars


Wednesday, January 21, 2009 6:31 PM EST

Numbers of northeast Queens residents don’t want their cars to get cold, so they leave them running with the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked – and then find that they are suddenly “hot.”

Crime prevention officers in both the 109th and 111th precincts report several incidents of running-car-theft in just the last few weeks, and they want to help you avoid being a victim.

The story falls into two categories – people who warm up their vehicles in the driveway while they breakfast at home, or those who frequent a convenience store “just for a minute” and leave the car running in the parking lot.

“It’s like you’re just teasing somebody to steal your car,” said Detective Gary Poggialli of the 111th Precinct. “You need to be a little self-conscious of what you’re doing,” he stressed.

He pointed to two incidents on Tuesday, January 13, within an hour of each other. At 8 a.m. someone grabbed a 2006 Mercedes Benz idling near 33rd Avenue and 212th Street in Bayside – at 9 a.m. a 2003 Honda Civic was driven away from 64th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard. Both were running with keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked.

“Those are about two of the most stolen cars there are,” Poggialli pointed out. But he cautions that you shouldn’t think your car is immune from theft because it isn’t new. “Even older cars are worth something to somebody,” he observed, adding “Your car may not be worth a lot, but it won’t be cheap to replace it.”

Queens Courier

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?

Workers Ordered to Give Up City-Owned Cars

“As the Bloomberg administration scrambles to cut spending, it is ordering city agencies like the police, parks and health departments to give up nearly 700 city-owned cars, a cherished perk for their workers.”

“Many city agencies operate their own fleet of cars, which they assign to employees for official use. Buildings inspectors use city-owned cars to travel to construction sites, for example. And supervisors at the Department of Parks and Recreation use them to get to far-flung city properties.

For many of these employees, mass transportation may add hours to their travel schedule.”

Don’t you feel bad for these managerial and supervisory personnel? This will hit the Parks Department hardest of all – Without their agency cars, how will they get to the ballpark in order use their free tickets to Met’s and Yankee’s games? Life is so unfair.

Park At Your Own Risk


Is it possible that this official vehicle is parked illegally?

On Bell Blvd., between Northern Blvd. and 35th Ave, New York City agencies issued 20,453 parking tickets from July 2007 to June 2008. Included are tickets issued on side streets such as 41st and 39th Avenues, which are used for Bell Blvd. parking Follow the link below, zoom in on a particular area and crunch the numbers for other locations.


New York City has become one big “parking trap.”

New York City has become one big “parking trap.”