Parking cop refuses to ‘right’ ticket

Merchant leader Bob Bieder asked the NYPD to ticket and tow a car parked in front of the Westchester Square Plumbing Supply driveway and was told “tough luck.” Photo by Robert Benimoff

It seems NYC’s traffic ticket writing brigade has no problem issuing thousands of questionable summons on a daily basis, but ask them to enforce an actual violation, well that’s going to lead to an investigation.

Two weeks ago, Robert Bieder had a rude awakening. The NYPD is eager to ticket cars parked on Westchester Avenue…except when there’s a legitimate reason to do so, he said.

When Bieder asked the NYPD to ticket and tow a car parked in front of Westchester Square Plumbing Supply’s driveway, a traffic enforcement agent refused.

“I was told that it isn’t a driveway,” he said.

The businessman has witnessed traffic enforcement agents waiting for a meter to expire, and agents ticketing motorists that are momentarily double parked as they prepare to parallel park. When he surveyed 3,487 Bronx merchant recently, parking emerged as their top concern.

Bieder had the curb cut in 1967 to access his warehouse; he showed the ticket agents a Department of Buildings’ plan from 40 years ago. The curb cut is the worse for wear, Bieder admitted, but it is what it is.

“The parking cops are willing to write illegitimate tickets,” he said. “And here I am asking them to enforce the law and I’m left unable to use the driveway for a whole day. Ridiculous.”

Bieder then spoke to an NYPD traffic enforcement superintendent on the phone. A superintendent visited the shop and told Bieder that he would have to send the issue downtown, and that downtown would dispatch an investigative team. That was Thursday, August 6.

“I haven’t heard a word yet,” Bieder said on Thursday, August 19.

Councilman James Vacca was one of the pols to join Bieder. The NYPD issues thousands of parking tickets a year at Castle Hill and Westchester avenues, Vacca said. The councilman has introduced legislation that would require traffic cops to snap photographs before issuing a ticket.

“I find it unbelievable that someone phoned and parking enforcement refused to take action,” Vacca said. “It makes no sense.”

Vacca fields parking-related constituent complaints every day, he said. Seniors are ticketed in front of the bakery, in front of the bank. Some merchants think the ticket blitz is a mayoral scheme to raise money.

Meanwhile, Vacca has asked the city to install no-standing signs at Pelham Bay station to trim congestion.

“No progress,” he said. “The way tickets are issued has very little to do with safety.”

There is no ticket blitz, the NYPD has stated; 24,000 fewer tickets were issued January through June 2009 in the Bronx compared to January through June 2008. Vacca and others think that the blitz has targeted specific business areas.

The NYPD didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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