Amid a serious budget crisis two years ago, the city approved changes in parking regulations that called for enforcing meters and parking regulations on Sunday - a traditional day of parking respite - and raised fines to between $65 and $115 in Manhattan.
Fines in the outer boroughs range from $35 to $115.
"Many hardworking families don't have an extra $100 in their budget for a single parking ticket," City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) said. "For many, that money goes to food, rent and the care of their children."
Enforcing parking regulations on Sunday was expected to raise an additional $3.4 million per year, Monserrate spokeswoman Bridget Fisher said.
But as city coffers begin to feel the effects of an economic recovery, Monserrate and Councilman Larry Seabrook (D-Bronx) said they believe it is time to give the city's drivers a break.
"This year instead of talking about deficits people are talking about refunds," said Monserrate, announcing the legislation with Seabrook and church leaders at a Bronx house of worship Sunday.
The legislation, which was introduced Wednesday, would discontinue parking regulations on Sunday across the city. But the change could be an especially welcome one for Queens, which boasts more car registrations than any other borough.
Queens had 675,833 cars registered in 2002, according to the most recent data available at the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The Queens figure was more than double those of Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, and more than 276,000 more than the number of cars registered in Brooklyn.
"Over the last two years, New Yorkers have dutifully paid higher-priced tickets to help the city get out of the red," Monserrate said. "Now is the time to reward those who have sacrificed to help our city bounce back after Sept. 11."
Monserrate wrote the bill, which is being cosponsored by Seabrook, Fisher said.
"New Yorkers deserve to have their free Sunday parking back to attend their religious services, do weekly shopping and enjoy a rare day off in a hardworking city," Monserrate said.
Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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