Bronxites already feeling the pressure of overpopulated roadways and traffic jams have an additional cause for concern with a new initiative for intersection ticketing.
With an increase in traffic, especially during the holiday season when shoppers are out and traffic may slow from hazardous road conditions caused by the winter elements, build-up along the intersections of major roads is almost inevitable for drivers.
Community organizations and CB11 has been trying to resolve theses congestion issues, including requesting help from the New York Police Department.
“We have been asking the NYPD to place traffic control agents at key locations, such as White Plains Road and Pelham Parkway, Boston Road and Pelham Parkway, and Allerton Avenue and Bronx Park East,” said John Fratta, district manager of Community Board 11. “They never responded in the past and basically ignored us.”
After a long period of unanswered requests, recently multiple Traffic Enforcement Agents have been seen at busy intersections, not regulating the flow of traffic, but rather issuing violations to cars stuck blocking the area.
This may be a result of the NYPD initiative launched this past September to crack down on ‘obstructing traffic at an intersection.’ In July, a new law went into effect making this a parking violation, allowing Traffic Enforcement Agents to issue tickets using a handheld Parking Ticket Devise, which simply scans a car’s window registration and prints the ticket.
“They are just standing there, instead of directing traffic, they are waving what I call their ‘magic wand’ and giving tickets for being stuck in the crosswalk,” said Rabbi Moshe Fuchs, member of CB11. “We had hoped for people to come and direct traffic to keep people safe and prevent accidents and people from getting killed. Traffic cops should be giving out tickets, but also directing traffic.”
In a NYPD Release issued on Tuesday, September 9, the NYC Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly noted: “Traffic Enforcement Agents will spearhead this initiative that was made possible by a recent change in the law. More than 2,500 agents have new authority to write ‘blocking the box’ summonses. Combined with their efficient handheld devices, they will be better equipped to keep New York moving.”
During a pilot run of the program held on Wednesday, September 3, Traffic Enforcement Agents issued a total of 111 tickets.
This parking ticket warrants a $ 115 fine, but may still be ticketed as a moving violation by police officers.
However good the programs intensions were, Bronx residents and CB11 feels this is only frustrating the problem instead of solving it.
“We can’t solve all the problems in this city on the backs of people and that’s what they are doing,” said Fratta. “There has got to be more of a solution than driving people out of our district.”