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PR- 426-09
September 30, 2009


Innovations to View Available Parking Spaces, Receive Expiring Meter Alerts and Pay Parking Meters all on Mobile Devices

Plans Includes Reduced Alternate-Side Regulations, Examining Amnesty for Fees on Past Due Tickets, New Sensitivity Training for all Traffic Enforcement Agents and Potential Fee-Free Electronic Ticket Payments

Less Circling for Parking Spaces and Less Vehicle Movements for Alternate-Side Restrictions will Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled, Congestion and Air Pollution

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced a comprehensive new strategy to make parking in New York City easier, more efficient and more user-friendly by implementing new technologies and new initiatives.  The City will begin testing and studying new technology that would allow New Yorkers to view a map of available parking spaces, receive alerts when their meter is about to expire and pay parking meters all on their mobile device.  The City will also explore offering surcharge-free automatic electronic money transfers as another way to pay parking tickets, so New Yorkers can avoid fees imposed by credit card companies and still pay electronically.  The Mayor’s parking plan also includes an expansion of the ongoing pilot program to reduce alternate-side-of-the-street regulations, studying late penalty and interest amnesty programs for overdue parking tickets and new sensitivity training for all traffic enforcement agents.

“Over the last eight years, the level and quality of customer service provided by City government has improved each year, but we continue to take on new challenges because we know we can do much more,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “By putting new technology to work, we can take away some of the frustrations of parking in the City, enabling New Yorkers to see maps of available spaces, receive expiring meter alerts and make remote meter payments all from their mobile devices.  With less cars circling in search of a parking space and less cars being moved for alternate-side days, we can reduce vehicle miles traveled, reducing congestion and the cutting air pollution and carbon emissions that come with it.”

Alternate-Side Regulation Reductions

Last year, the City began a pilot program in Park Slope, Brooklyn to reduce alternate-side parking restrictions from twice a week to once a week and reduce the duration of the restriction from three hours to ninety minutes in some locations.  Similar changes were made in other parts of Brooklyn, including Carroll Gardens and Red Hook.  The pilot program is now being expanded to more sections of Brooklyn and the Riverdale section of the Bronx.  The impact of the reduction in parking regulations on street cleanliness will be monitored and studied by the Department of Sanitation.  If street cleanliness remains at the current high levels, the reductions to parking restrictions will be expanded to more locations across the city.

“We’ll continue to examine the impact reduced parking restrictions have on street cleanliness, and if they prove effective we’ll work to make similar changes to parking regulations in more areas across the city,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

Parking Ticket Late Penalty and Interest Amnesty Program

New York City is owed approximately $700 million in overdue parking fines, dating as far back as 2001.  Tickets in arrears are subject to late fees and interest charges, which can quickly add up.  After the first 101 days, three late fees, totaling $60, are added to the original parking fine and shortly thereafter interest begins to accrue at a rate of nine percent per year.  Amnesty programs that reduce or waive late penalties and interest on past due parking tickets have proven successful in other cities, and the City will review the lessons learned to determine if an amnesty program would be effective in New York City to incentivize payment.  The $700 million in parking fines currently outstanding could pay the salaries of more than 7,000 new police officers. 

“We’ll examine the experience of cities which have reduced penalties for those with outstanding fines so long as they come forward to pay and clear their record and see if such a program would be effective in New York,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

Paying Parking Tickets Electronically with No Fee

Currently, the only method available to pay a parking ticket electronically is via credit card, which subjects users to a $2 fee, imposed to recoup transaction costs charged by credit cards companies.  The City will explore the possibility of offering charge-free electronic money transfers directly from a bank account to pay parking tickets. 

“Many New Yorkers now use electronic transfers to quickly and efficiently pay their utility or phone bills without any fees – we should bring that convenience to paying parking tickets,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

Sensitivity Training for Ticket Agents

All 2,795 of the City’s Traffic Enforcement Agents will take part in increased sensitivity training to ensure New Yorkers that are ticketed are dealt with in a professional and courteous manner.

“Getting a parking ticket will never be a cause for celebration, but to reduce the tensions that can arise, we will increase sensitivity training for all traffic enforcement agents,” said Mayor Bloomberg.


Stu Loeser/Marc LaVorgna   (212) 788-2958

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