Tag Archives: Muni Meter

City Council passes bill to fix Muni Meter payment system


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

The City Council has passed legislation that fixes flaws in the Muni Meter system and saves drivers money in unnecessary parking payments.

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs the law, Muni Meters would shut off when paid parking rules are not in effect and when a machine is out of paper needed to print receipts. The meters would turn back on an hour before drivers are required to pay for parking again.

“Whether you’re doing your laundry or parking your car, you should always get what you pay for,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn announcing the bill last month.  “This legislation ensures drivers will no longer pay for parking at a meter, only to find out that this requirement ended 20 minutes earlier.  Our legislation will reduce frustration and increase fairness in how we pay for parking.”

The changes will first apply to meters that have the technology to turn off when parking is free or the meter is out of paper, about half of those in the city, mostly in the outer boroughs. Other meters must be reprogrammed within two years from when the bill is enacted.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast with rain, then thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon. High of 66. Breezy. Winds from the ESE at 10 to 20 mph shifting to the NE in the afternoon. Chance of rain 100% with rainfall amounts near 1.0 in. possible. Thursday night: Overcast with rain. Fog overnight. Low of 55. Windy. Winds from the NNE at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Chance of rain 100% with rainfall amounts near 2.1 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Summer carnival and petting zoo 

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Lawmakers approve changes to NYC’s Muni Meter system

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Parking just got more pleasant


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Newly approved legislation is providing drivers with peace of mind by curbing unfair parking fines.

Councilmember James Gennaro joined community leaders and residents to celebrate the passage of a law requiring any parking ticket to be cancelled upon the presentation of a valid muni-meter receipt no later than five minutes after the violation is issued. Under the current law, tickets cannot be cancelled once issued by a traffic enforcement agent, even if a driver shows a valid muni-meter receipt – forcing citizens to appeal the violation in court or pay the fine.

“This is a common-sense law,” said Gennaro, who sponsored the bill. “If you park your car at a metered spot and you walk to the muni-meter to pay for it, you’re playing by the rules. And if there’s a parking agent close by, or you’re elderly and walk slowly or there’s someone in front of you at the muni-meter terminal, you shouldn’t be penalized as if you were trying to cheat the system.”

The City Council initially passed the bill in January, but it was vetoed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg a month later. The mayor’s veto was ultimately overruled by the council on March 28 by a vote of 47 to 2. The law will officially take effect on September 24, allowing the city 180 days to change its parking scanners to be able to cancel violations immediately.

“This law is great news for small business owners in Queens and throughout the city,” said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “When drivers are unfairly ticketed for parking on the street, small businesses suffer, too. The shoppers effectively blame the merchant – they don’t come back.”

Business owners echoed Friedman, emphasizing that parking tickets may deter patrons from returning to certain areas.

“It’s going to make a difference,” said Wendy Marsh, owner of Marsh Optical and former president of the Union Turnpike Merchants Association. “It’s enough that they get tickets all the time here anyway. People get tickets, they don’t want to shop here.”

Drivers have also expressed relief that they no longer have to fret about being hit with a ticket.

“I think it’s only reasonable to extend the five minutes to people. It was unfair that they previously didn’t do this,” said John Sotirakis, a resident of Bayside who frequently uses muni-meter parking spots on Bell Boulevard. “I was lucky that it never happened to me, but sometimes I’d have to stop and speak to a parking agent when they were lingering around so that they wouldn’t give me a ticket while I was going to the meter. This is much better now – there is less pressure.”

No ticket while getting your ticket


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

New legislation is aiming to please drivers by “parking” many of their muni-meter tickets.

The City Council recently passed a bill that will spare commuters the stress of receiving a parking ticket while retrieving their muni-meter receipt. Prior to the bill, if a driver presented a valid receipt to a traffic enforcement agent, there was no way for the agent to revoke the ticket.

The legislation, which was introduced by Councilmember James Gennaro, requires a ticket to be cancelled if a valid receipt is shown no later than five minutes after the issuance of the violation. The canceled ticket would read, “Valid muni-meter receipt shown, ticket canceled,” and would include the number printed on the muni-meter receipt — sparing drivers the inconvenience of appealing the ticket by appearing in court.

“New York City drivers feel enough anxiety every day already without having to worry about getting a ticket while they’re walking to the muni-meter,” Gennaro said. “By ensuring that premature violations are canceled if a receipt is shown within five minutes of the ticket being written, my bill will bring a little peace of mind to residents who are trying to do the right thing and pay for their parking.”

The bill was co-sponsored by Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who also supported approved legislation declaring the presentation of a valid muni-meter receipt as a viable defense for the failure to display the voucher on a dashboard.

“It’s absurd to think that they could place a muni-meter a half block from where you’ve parked, force you to walk to obtain a receipt, and then ticket you as you’re returning to your car — but it happens,” Vallone said. “Once again, we had to write legislation to combat something that should never have been occurring in the first place.”

Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, praised the bill for the positive effects it will have on small businesses.

“Allowing a ticket to be canceled upon the showing of a valid receipt no later than five minutes after the issuance of the ticket is both fair and reasonable,” Friedman said in a letter to Gennaro. “Before the introduction of this law, even people attempting to comply with the law were penalized. Small business owners have enough to contend with in today’s economy. Scaring consumers from metered spots certainly didn’t help.”

Drivers shared feelings of frustration that the legislation was not in place from the start, while also expressing relief for no longer being at risk of receiving an unjustified ticket.

“It has been a horror because I have received a couple tickets while I was walking to the meter,” said Antonietta Mandione, a Bayside resident. “I tried to fight them in court and I never won. I always had to pay the ticket, and it wasn’t fair. If it is raining or snowing someone could slip, and I have to drag my kids with me and run back to my car. The parking agents are fast in giving out tickets. This new law will save us a lot of time in running to the meter. It is going to be a big improvement because we won’t have to kill ourselves to get back to the car. The city [didn’t have this law from the beginning] because it wants to collect more money from us.”

Muni Meters hurt Bayside biz


| editorial@queenscourier.com

EDITOR’S NOTE:
Below is a copy of a letter sent by a constituent to City Councilmember Mark Weprin.

 I am writing to you out of frustration and anger at the recent installation of “Muni Meters” along Bell Boulevard in Bayside. Apparently, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has seen fit to wrest every last dime from our pockets, not having been satisfied with the increase in local property taxes during his tenure or the increase in additional fees and charges. We are now faced with the inconvenience of having to find a receipt dispensing machine, which sometimes is more that 100 feet away, obtain a receipt and come back to the car in order to place the receipt in the driver side window just to make a quick stop in a local store. I understand that in addition to raising the parking fee from 20 minutes to 15 minutes for 25 cents, we can no longer use the remaining time of a previous parker. In addition, these machines often do not work properly, and last week, I lost a quarter in one forcing me to walk/run an additional 100 feet to find one that works.

I have lived in this neighborhood for over 40 years, ever since my late wife and I bought our home. On an almost daily basis, I have patronized the small businesses in the community area of Bell Boulevard between 48th and 47th Avenues. These “Muni Meters” have caused considerable inconvenience and danger to the shoppers of that area, in that we have to find a working machine, put our money in, all the while keeping an eye out for an army of ticket writers looking to further fleece the citizens of New York. A friend of mine narrowly missed being struck by a vehicle running across the street in order to place the receipt in his window as a ticket writer descended on his car.

As I am friendly with most of the proprietors of the local businesses, I have asked them if there has been any impact from the installation of this system. Every one of them has indicated a drop in business. If you don’t believe me, I urge you to take a stroll in the area I have indicated and see for yourself.

When the mayor ran the first time, he promised to run the city as a business. If he was to run his business as he has been running our city, I suspect he would be out of business in a very short while.

 

Yours truly,

 

Edward L. Fox