It’s not often that this newspaper finds itself siding with city functionaries whose very job requires them to deliver suffering and pain to residents, but in the case of this week’s parking ticket blitz in Park Slope, we side with the traffic enforcement officers.
On Monday, the Department of Transportation’s new (and, frankly, improved) alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules went into effect after an eight-week hiatus to allow for the installation of thousands of new “No Parking” signs.
The return of alternate-side parking was very widely reported — in this newspaper, on television news and even in the Manhattan-centric New York Times.
As a result, most Park Slope car owners were well aware that they needed to return to their old habit — namely, moving their car during the “No Parking” hours to make room for Department of Sanitation street sweepers.
But many drivers were outraged when they returned to their cars to find a bright orange reminder on their windshield that the parking rules were once again in effect. A few were downright hostile to the parking enforcement officers, while others were more muted in their complaint that the tickets were unfair — never mind the freshly installed “No Parking” signs and the endless coverage of the rules — because they weren’t informed.
Indeed, Community Board 6 has vowed to write a letter to the Department of Transportation in support of anyone who got a ticket this week in hopes of having a judge toss the fine out the window.
True, the Department of Transportation might have erred when it suspended alternate-side parking without a set date for its return, but the fault lies with drivers who did not bother to stay informed; after all, drivers who were tapped in enough to know about the parking holiday have no excuse for then feigning ignorance when that holiday — like all holidays, alas — ended.
In fact, too many car owners abused the hiatus, not bothering to move their cars for the duration while garbage collected in gutters and other drivers circled and circled in hopes of finding a spot.
Some car owners from outside the neighborhood left their vehicles on Slope streets knowing that they wouldn’t have to worry about them while they were on vacation.
So to all of you who got tickets this week, you had a good run, but the party’s over. If you can’t accept that, you only have one choice: Move your car to Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill or Boerum Hill — where alternate-side-of-the-street rules are now suspended for the installation of new signs.
But don’t complain to us if you get a ticket when rules go back into effect in those neighborhoods in a few weeks.