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Scrub Bell Blvd. parking tix from bogus signs: Halloran

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City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said this week he hopes to make the city drop pending traffic tickets given to drivers who parked on Bell Boulevard during bogus street cleaning hours as well as potentially reimburse money collected from tickets given during those hours over the past decade.

“The city owes its citizens back all that money,” Halloran said.

Halloran and other Bayside officials said in November they were relieved the city removed the street cleaning signs along Bell Boulevard that had enraged area residents because the city had not swept Bell Boulevard for at least a decade but had continued to ticket drivers who parked in the areas the city said were designated for cleaning. Halloran said that for at least 10 years residents have received tickets during supposed cleaning periods from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on most weekdays.

Owen Stone, a spokesman for the city Department of Finance, said there is “no legal basis to dismiss these tickets.”

“The signs were in place and the rules were in effect,” Stone said.

While city officials have said they will not drop pending tickets given during these cleaning hours, Halloran said he is researching legal cases that could back his idea that because the city gave tickets for parking at hours during a service that did not exist, the tickets are invalid.

Halloran also said he has filed a Freedom of Information request to find out the total number of summonses issued for that violation on Bell, the current number of open summonses and the amount of money the city has received in violations.

“Thousands of my constituents have been ticketed by the city for a service they aren’t even getting,” Halloran said in a statement. “The outer boroughs regularly get ignored by the inner borough. And my district, especially, seems to get the shaft from our city government.”

Civic activists have said they were more than relieved that the city removed the signs. Community Board 11 was one of two boards that did not have a designated street sweeper from the city because officials said it scored too high on cleanliness to receive one.

“I’ve been crying out about this for at least a decade,” CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said last month. “We’re an affluent area. The ticket-takers, the meter maids go out there and ticket our residents into oblivion. They know we can afford to pay it. That’s why they do it.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 6:18 pm, October 10, 2011
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