NYPD Made Millions Ticketing Legally Parked Cars

It appears that the NYPD has been regularly ticketing legally parked cars, and the error is a huge boon for the city.

Ben Wellington, who runs the data site I Quant NY, explored a little-known rule, adopted by DOT in 2009, that allows motorists to park in front of sidewalk pedestrian ramps not connected to a crosswalk. The rule change, first proposed by Councilman Vincent Gentile, was designed to free up precious parking spaces.

However, it appears some police officers didn’t get the memo and have continued issuing tickets to vehicles parked in front of the ramps. By diving into city data, Wellington discovered there are 1,966 spots in the city where five or more of these tickets were issued — generating about $1.7 million every year.

Not all of the ramps are legal for parking, Wellington notes, so he created a handy map for neighbors to see where five or more tickets have been issued so residents can check out the area and see if NYPD is ripping them off.

We scoped out the map and compared it with some google image results. One location, where Wellington recorded eight tickets issued, is at 3115 Emmons Avenue, at the intersection with Ford Street.

The rule change allows drivers to park at the corner of such intersections as long as there are no traffic lights, stop signs or crosswalk lines, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports.

In fact, Wellington’s analysis discovered that two local precincts, the 70th in Midwood and the 60th in Coney Island, are some of the city’s worst offenders. This year, they’ve collected $107,728 and $61,668 from issuing tickets for parking in front of pedestrian ramps.

The good news is that police responded to Wellington’s data by promising additional training.

In a statement to I Quant NY, the NYPD noted the majority of wrongly-issued tickets were written by patrol officers. When the rule changed in 2009, the department focused on training traffic agents, who write the bulk of summonses.

“As a result, the department sent a training message to all officers clarifying the rule change and has communicated to commanders of precincts with the highest number of summonses, informing them of the issues within their command,” the statement read.

The NYPD also thanked Wellington for bringing the issue to their attention.

“Thanks to this analysis and the availability of this open data, the department is also taking steps to digitally monitor these types of summonses to ensure that they are being issued correctly,” they said.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    his means war! I got another $165 ticket on Wednesday for parking in a perfectly legal spot next to a pedestrian curb cut — and an NYPD cop told me right to my face the law “does not matter.”

    “No matter what the law says, if you park alongside a pedestrian ramp, you’re going to get a ticket,” explained the duty sergeant at the 52nd Precinct station house, as I showed him the evidence proving my innocence.

    “It’s the human aspect we’re looking at. The ramp is there to aid people crossing the street. It’s there for a reason.”

    Great, so I’m the bad guy — and the NYPD will continue to make millions of dollars off people who don’t know the law.

    I pressed on. “But the street is a one-way and it would be suicide to cross at that intersection,” I told the sarge, noting how the spots became legal in 2009. “Not to mention the fact that it’s technically illegal to cross where there are no crosswalks.”

    His answer left me speechless.

    “If the law was changed, then you know you can get out of the ticket. Just keep taking it down there and beating it,” the sergeant said unabashedly, before passing the buck to the Department of Transportation.

    “Or, you know what, reach out to the DOT and ask them why they put pedestrian ramps in spots that are dangerous. Why are they located in areas without crosswalks? But by all means, keep parking there . . . and then beat the ticket,” he said.

    I have already beaten three of the tickets and have three more to go.

    The NYPD said Thursday they had been educating the rank-and-file not to issue the pedestrian-ramp tickets — but if cops are getting the memo, they are willfully ignoring it.

    “The department sent a training message to all officers clarifying the rule change and has communicated to commanders of precincts with the highest number of summonses, informing them of the issues within their command,” officials explained in a statement.

    Luckily for drivers who coughed up the $165, all is not lost.

    City Councilman Vincent Gentile, who pushed for the pedestrian ramp law change in 2009, said Thursday he is currently working to get ticketed drivers reimbursed — and he plans to also lean on the NYPD to hammer home the message.

    “The city shouldn’t be keeping money that belongs to drivers,” Gentile said.

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