Did you know that the city makes millions of dollars each year by systematically ticketing cars that are parked in perfectly legal spaces?
One such parking spot — right here in Bensonhurst — is located in front of 8102 20th Avenue, where 26 drivers have been ticketed in the last 2.5 years, according to a new map in iQuant NYC.
The data, which is compiled and crunched by urban planning professor Ben Wellington, is drawn from New York City’s newly expanded Open Data portal, where the author pulled the most common parking spots in the city where cars are ticketed for blocking pedestrian ramps.
Apparently, a little-known 2009 law change that allows drivers to park their cars before pedestrian walkways which do not lead to cross walks is to blame for millions of dollars in erroneous parking tickets generated by these spots.
Two other nearby addresses stood out in the data — one at 2282 Stillwell Avenue, which saw 22 tickets in the selected time period, and another at 1719 84th Street, which accrued 19 tickets.
Below is a map of all the legal parking spots that have been ticketed more than five time in the past 2.5 years.
So how bad is the NYPD’s over ticketing problem? Wellington estimates that over the last 2.5 years more than 1,966 mostly legal spots have generated about 1.7 million dollars a year in tickets. They may not all be legal — but most are, he says.
When Wellington reached out to the NYPD, the law enforcement agency acknowledged the mistake and vowed reforms. Here is the letter:
“Mr. Wellington’s analysis identified errors the department made in issuing parking summonses. It appears to be a misunderstanding by officers on patrol of a recent, abstruse change in the parking rules. We appreciate Mr. Wellington bringing this anomaly to our attention.
The department’s internal analysis found that patrol officers who are unfamiliar with the change have observed vehicles parked in front of pedestrian ramps and issued a summons in error. When the rule changed in 2009 to allow for certain pedestrian ramps to be blocked by parked vehicles, the department focused training on traffic agents, who write the majority of summonses.
Yet, the majority of summonses written for this code violation were written by police officers. 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.
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.”
Read the rest of Wellington’s incredible report here.