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Council to vote on bill to suspend parking rules during snowstorms

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The City Council Transportation Committee has approved a bill that supporters said would curtail unfair parking tickets by automatically suspending alternate side of the street parking rules whenever the city stops streets cleaning during a snowstorm.

The Council committee passed the legislation Tuesday and it was headed to the full Council, where it was widely expected to sail through with little opposition.

The combination of snow and freezing temperatures had entombed many cars during the February 2007 storm, with many motorists getting expensive parking tickets, even though it was difficult, if not impossible, to move their cars. After first defending the decision to impose parking tickets and suggesting New Yorkers “stop griping,” the mayor later waived the tickets issued during and after the storm.

“Alternate side parking rules were adopted to allow the city to clean the streets,” said City Councilman John Liu (D−Flushing), chairman of the Transportation Committee.

“So it would seem to make sense that if street cleaning operations are suspended, such rules would also be suspended,” he said. “Unfortunat­ely, common sense is too often absent from the city’s parking regulations. This bill corrects a defect in city laws, that unjustly penalizes people in the worst way.”

Councilwoman Maria Baez (D−Bronx), who, along with Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst), sponsored the legislation, said: “I strongly believe this piece of legislation will play a significant role in ending the unjust practice that has plagued many New York City residents pertaining to ticketing.”

Monserrate said “alternate side parking was intended to keep our streets clean, not to keep city coffers full. My hope is that the mayor will sign this bill into law before the snow starts to fall.”

The impetus for the bill began in Jackson Heights, where residents met Monserrate on the street the morning after a 2006 snowstorm to complain about the practice.

Monserrate said that after receiving a ticket himself that morning, he noticed that every car on the snow−packed street had one as well.

The legislation would suspend alternate side of the street parking regulations during any snowstorm that causes the city Sanitation Department to suspend its street sweeping operations.

Jeremy Walsh contributed to this story.

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