New York City is planning changes to the reduced fines levied on parking tickets handed out to about 2,600 commercial vehicle operators – including UPS, Verizon and others. In the first major overhaul since the programs’ introduction 15 years ago, the city’s Department of Finance plans to raise the fines that commercial operators pay for infractions such as double parking and blocking an intersection. Officials estimate that the new fees, expected to take effect in November, will raise ticket revenues by $17 million – a 3.2% increase on the $525 million the city expects to collect this financial year.

According to the finance department, the goal is more about reducing the growing problem of traffic congestion, rather than raising revenue. A spokesperson declined to reveal all of the proposed changes to the 99 parking violations, saying the department may make minor adjustments. Among the changes the department sees as likely being made:

  • A $115 ticket for obstructing an intersection, which is currently reduced by up to $15, will be charged at the full rate.
  • A $65 ticket for violating street cleaning parking rules in Manhattan, currently reduced to zero, will cost $25.
  • A company that would previously have avoided a $115 penalty for double parking outside Midtown will pay $60.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has been rolling out programs aimed at cutting congestion, such as stepped-up enforcement of traffic rules at busy intersections and pilot programs limiting standing in busy commercial areas.

The city issued 8.7 million parking tickets in the last financial year, according to finance department figures. Almost half of the 2.6 million tickets issued against commercial vehicles were settled under the parking programs. Introduced in 2003, the programs sought to reduce the cost of holding parking ticket hearings, as well as save repeat offenders the time and cost of fighting tickets.

One program is set up for firms that spend a shorter time at the curb, such as deliveries. The other is aimed at companies that stay longer, such as service firms. The program fees were calculated based upon the likelihood of a company successfully challenging a ticket in court.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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