Friendly Parking Coming to New York City

October 1, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2009

NEW YORK—Trouble finding parking in New York City? The city is embarking on an ambitious new strategy to improve parking availability and ease parking meter and parking ticket payments.

The initiative, announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Wednesday, will test innovative technologies which enable map views of available parking spaces, receipt of expiring meter alerts, and payment of meter fees through mobile devices. The plan aims to reduce traffic congestion due to vehicles having to circle around to find parking spaces, thereby also improving air pollution.

“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,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “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 cutting air pollution and carbon emissions that come with it,” he added.

The comprehensive proposal to improve parking experience in New York City also includes:

• Providing an option to pay parking tickets through direct electronic bank transfers without incurring transaction fees, thereby avoiding credit card surcharges.
• Implementing a Parking Ticket Late Penalty and an Interest Amnesty Program to reduce overdue fees. The city will examine the success rate and lessons learned from similar programs in other cities to determine feasibility for this region. The city is losing nearly $700 million in revenue from unpaid parking fines, dating as far back as 2001.
• Mandating sensitivity training for traffic enforcement agents to improve professionalism and courteous manner while writing citations.

“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,” noted Mayor Bloomberg.

The city may also expand reduced alternate-side-of-the-street regulations in Brooklyn and the Riverdale section of the Bronx. A pilot initiative, implemented in 2008 across several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook, reduced alternate-side parking restrictions from twice a week to once a week and decreased the duration of the restriction from three hours to 90 minutes in select areas. The Department of Sanitation will monitor the impact of these reductions on street cleanliness to determine if the program should be expanded further in the future.