One good turn deserves … a parking ticket.
That’s what angry members of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District are saying after tangling with those municipal servants drivers love to hate – the NYPD’s dreaded parking enforcement agents.
All was good Thursday, July 25 when the BID brought a paper shredding truck provided by the Sanitation Salvage Corp. to the Square as part of the BID’s annual day-long “Shredfest.”
The local 45th Precinct reassuring the BID that no permit was needed to park the truck outside the BID office, and even placed orange NYPD parking cones around it.
That’s when things turned weird, said BID Chairman John Bonizio.
“At around one o’clock, after passing by the truck several times, I saw a traffic enforcement officer drive by the truck, on his phone, looking at the truck,” Bonizio said. “Immediately after he got off the phone, he ticketed the truck. I was called down from the BID office immediately and called him over to ask why he ticketed the truck, which was obviously authorized to be there by the NYPD traffic cones set up to secure its position.”
According to Bonizio, even after he explained that the vehicle was authorized to be there by the 45th Precinct, the officer said the truck was ticketed because there was no muni-meter receipt on the dashboard.
“That’s when I asked him, as is a citizen’s right, to call his supervisor,” Bonizio said. “He said he already did and 10 seconds later a supervisor’s car pulled up.”
Bonizio said the supervisor responded to his questions by very curtly informing him “nobody had told her anything about the truck” and that if he wanted to complain about the situation he should call his local councilman.
Instead, Bonizio responded by paying the $35 parking ticket with his personal money.
“The BID shouldn’t have to pay fines for City-sponsored BID events, and the shredding company shouldn’t have to pay a fine for doing community volunteer services, so as a concerned merchant I paid the fine as a donation to the cause,” he said. “Especially since their parking space was authorized by the NYPD (whose community affairs officers established the parking zone and clearly designated the area with NYPD traffic cones).”
“This is not about the money,” Bonizio argued. “It’s about the disrespect from the traffic enforcement for our businesses and the community.”
Lisa Sorin, executive director of the BID, agreed with Bonizio.
“The notification on this event went out for the last three weeks,” Sorin said. “Every single business knew, and traffic enforcement is always in the area, so if they didn’t see it, I can’t imagine why. Thousands of people were notified that this was taking place today because this is a service we are providing. Whether they didn’t know about it or they chose not to know about it is a whole different story.”
Bonizio said Captain James McGeown, commander of the 45th Precinct, told him that he later personally admonished the TEA “for their actions in the case and for overstepping their authority when they ignored posted NYPD traffic arrangements.”
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3394