Today’s news:

City Council overrides ‘gotcha’ veto

The City Council voted overwhelmingly to establish a five-minute grace period for alternate-side parking regulations and Muni-meters on Monday, December 14. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had vetoed the bill, but more than two-thirds of the City Council weighed in to override the mayor.

The bill passed easily, 47 votes to two. As a law, it will grant motorists a five-minute grace period after alternate side parking rules take effect and Muni-meter time expires.

Many merchants praised the bill. They expect the five-minute grace period law to offer a refuge from aggressive traffic enforcement agents.

“I think [the five-minute grace period] is part of the courtesy to the businesspeople and the people who are shopping that the mayor promised us [at a recent merchant breakfast],” Pelham Bay Merchants Association president Sherry Scanlon said. “The mayor promised to educate the meter maids on being more courteous. I think the five-minute grace period will go a long way to solving a lot of these problems.”

Throggs Neck Merchants Association president John Cerini thinks that Bronx residents pay enough taxes to justify the grace period.

“In general I like the idea,” Cerini stated. “I think many people will honor the…grace period. It will be a learning process and the city will have to learn from mistakes and adjust meters and rules until common ground is reached. But anything good for the shoppers is good for the merchants.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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