New York City’s financial outlook is bleaker than the pared-down budget indicates. Broadway will remain closed for the rest of the year, indoor dining is delayed indefinitely, office leasing is tanking, and no one can say when (or if) tourism will return. So where does New York City turn when cash is desperately needed? Ticketing of course! Part of the new budget includes a ticket blitz on motorists expected to rake in about $42 million over the next few months, though that figure is related to a shift in NYPD resources related to ticketing. The exact revenue projections are unclear. The ticket blitz comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo’s announced mask-wearing and social distance enforcement by State Police, the Department of Health (DOH), and State Liquor Authority (SLA).
Now, commercial vehicles are not the main target of the blitz, passenger vehicles are. However, typically the city has viewed trucks as cash cows and has made life for commercial vehicles particularly hard these last few years. Moreover, there are reasons why a designed passenger vehicle blitz will carryover to commercial vehicles. Passenger cars are parking in muni zones forcing commercial vehicles to park in no standing zones or to double park, on other streets. Also, restaurants are setting up tables in the street in commercial parking zones. If commercial parking is not available, parking tickets are likely to be issued to commercial trucks making deliveries or pick-ups in these areas. As long as the open restaurants plan is in effect delivery firms must be allowed to double park or move to illegal spaces, with proper documentation. In the meantime, drivers should be taking before and after pictures of deliveries highlighting the lack of space. Another reason why trucks frequently must double park is that commercial space is often taken up by for-hire-vehicles (FHVs) or by municipal employees and other insiders who abuse their parking placards. Yet, the budget actually removed the money and agents allocated to enforcing placard abuse.
This blitz is separate from camera enforcement which was ramping up and has continued throughout the pandemic. Beginning on February 20th, 2020, bus lane camera violations were fined on a progressive scale over a rolling 12-month period:
- First offense: $50
- Second offense: $100
- Third offense: $150
- Fourth offense: $200
- Each subsequent offense: $250
However, it takes about 30 days for the actual notice to arrive, meaning motorists may be unknowingly racking up violations. In June the city completed installing 750 additional school speeding cameras which were a source of revenue during the pandemic when schools were closed.
Even more egregious is that when municipalities balance their budget on excessive fines and fees as New York will be doing, the disgusting cycles of racial and economic injustice continue. So a budget that was supposed to fight those things instead perpetuates them.
No doubt the city should be doing everything they can to save as many businesses as they can which includes commercial delivery and service firms. To balance the budget on nickel and dime ticketing after everything that the trucking industry did during the pandemic (which the city rightfully celebrated) would be a major slap in the face.