Union Turnpike merchants on Monday celebrated the passage of a new parking law that will help their customers.
Under legislation sponsored by Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), in the future ticket agents can invalidate a summons if the driver is getting a Muni-Meter receipt at the time the ticket is issued. The receipt must be stamped no more than five minutes after the ticket has been issued.
The law spares drivers from having to appeal the violation and take time out of their schedule to appear in court. Now, there is no way for the traffic enforcement agent to cancel the ticket.
The legislation will go into effect on Sept. 24 to give the city time to reprogram the digital parking scanners to cancel violations on the spot.
The City Council passed the bill in January, but Mayor Bloomberg vetoed it the following month. The council, however, overrode the veto by a 47-2 vote on March 28.
“This is a common-sense law,” Gennaro said. “If you park your car at a metered spot and walk to the Muni-Meter to pay for it, you’re playing by the rules ... you shouldn’t be penalized as if you were trying to cheat the system.”
Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, attended the gathering and said the law is “great news” for small business owners. “When drivers are unfairly ticketed for parking on the street, small businesses suffer, too,” Friedman said. “The shoppers effectively blame the merchant; they don’t come back.”
Wendy Marsh, of Marsh Optical and former president of the Union Turnpike Merchants Association, said the law is going to make a difference. Robert Gargiulo, UTMA president, agreed.
“This will affect shoppers,” said Gargiulo, who works at an investment firm. “I’ve seen it happen where people get tickets, especially older ones, where the Muni-Meter is far from the car and it takes them time to get back.”