By Sabina Mollot
Stuy Town drivers, beware.
A recent and ongoing ticketing blitz in the loop roads around the Oval has local motorists on edge for a couple of reasons. First, generally, parking tickets are the domain of Stuyvesant Town’s own public safety department, whose officers are deputized to issue them for infractions. Additionally, they offer a 15-minute grace period to drivers loading and unloading at times when parking isn’t permitted. This grace period was arranged by then-Assembly Member Steven Sanders and the city in 2002.
But all that has changed within the past couple of months. Residents have been complaining on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s Facebook page, as well as to the office of Council Member Keith Powers, about an NYPD crackdown on illegal parking, that came without warning.
The infractions were for idling as well as for parking in spots where “No Parking” signs were posted. A rep for Powers noted that public safety typically lets drivers know when they can re-park after street sweeping is concluded but that tends to be before the “No Parking” signs indicate.
In response to the ticketing sweep, Powers sent a letter to the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct last Thursday. While the tickets have come from the NYPD’s traffic unit as opposed to the Gramercy precinct, Powers has been in touch with the precinct, which has agreed to be an intermediary, a spokesperson for the Council member said. However, so far, he hasn’t heard back from the NYPD.
StuyTown Property Services has also apparently kept out of the loop as to the reasons for the change. Rick Hayduk, Stuyvesant Town’s general manager, told Town & Village, “SPS knows not of how or why the Department of Traffic has decided to rigidly enforce parking in Stuy Town. Further, SPS understands there has been an agreement, dating back to Assemblyman Sanders’ time, of a short parking grace period for residents even in No Loading Zones.”
After hearing complaints from tenants, he said management reached out to Powers and the NYPD, hoping to rectify the issue.
A spokesperson for the NYPD told Town & Village while he was unaware of the particular crackdown, if parking was in fact illegal at the time tickets were issued, “The traffic enforcement would be legitimate. If you’re illegally parked, you’re subject to a summons.”
When asked for more information, another police spokesperson would only reiterate, “There is no grace period for summonsable offenses.”
An officer from the 13th Precinct would only say police were working with Stuy Town to come up with a solution.
It is possible, however, that the department took note of an article that ran in the New York Post last fall, offering insight into which Manhattan neighborhoods got hit the hardest in terms of tickets. While the Upper East Side and Financial District were hotbeds of ticketing, other communities, like Harlem and Stuyvesant Town “got off easy,” the report noted. Last year, the average ticket price in the borough was nearly $80, $9 higher than in other boroughs.
In his letter, Powers asked, “On behalf of my constituents, I respectfully request that adherence to the well-established agreement between the city and ST-PCV continues. Public safety officers employed by Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are always on the premises and have the authority to write parking tickets. Keeping this policy in place allows residents to continue operating under the rules they are accustomed to while simultaneously reducing the strain on valuable NYPD resources.”