The city is objecting to a council proposal to give citizens cash for reporting illegal parking and placard abuse — claiming it could lead to street fights between neighbors and that the generous payouts could create a cottage industry.
“We are concerned that this could lead to many verbal and physical confrontations, pitting neighbor against neighbor,” Acting Transportation Commissioner Margaret Forgione said during testimony to city council members on Tuesday.
“We worry that with this program members of the public are going to see another member of the public taking a picture of their license plate, or what have you, and that could result in split-second confrontations.”
Forgione also argued that the program would be challenging to implement and have an “uneven impact” depending on neighborhood.
“If the violation is $175, and the citizen gets 25 percent, that’s sort of substantial,” she said.
“We think that a whole sort of industry and workforce will spring up as could spring up as a result of this proposed bill.”
But bill co-sponsor Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) defended the proposal as a “necessity” after the failure of numerous promised crackdowns and reforms to curb rampant parking placard abuse by government workers.
“I waited for enforcement on placard abuse and extreme parking violations for years, and it hasn’t happened,” Levin said.
“It is irresponsible to continue to do nothing.”
Forgione pointed in response to the city’s plan to switch over to a digital “pay-by-plate” system designed to automatically register cars as legally or illegally parked.
But that initiative is at least six months behind schedule, The Post previously reported.
Council members during the hearing also laid into the NYPD’s new traffic chief about cops continuing to park illegally in bike lanes and around precinct houses.
“I don’t get… why there’s s many cars parked in the sidewalks, in the middle of streets, around precincts,” pressed committee chair Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan).
“What has been done to address the abuse or use street space around precincts by some members of the NYPD?”
Transportation Chief Kim Royster conceded that the police department is guilty of flouting parking laws, especially around police buildings — and vowed to put her foot down.
“If we are parking illegally, or we are abusing our authority to park, what it does is erode trust that the community has in the police department and, more importantly, in the officers that serve that community,” Royster admitted.
“This message will be amplified going forward.”
“Pay-by-plate” is just one of many placard enforcement and reform initiatives to fall by the wayside, the person behind the @Placardabuse Twitter account said in written testimony submitted to the council — including initiatives passed by the council in late 2019.
“This proposal will enable concerned residents to provide the facts to a competent and responsive authority who will finally take the appropriate action that the NYPD has so long denied,” wrote the anonymous citizen watchdog, who tweets out photos of workers using their placards to park with impunity.
“At long last, there can be some measure of accountability and restoration of lawful conditions to our streets.”
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