A proposed New York City bill is looking to take down parking violators through an unusual tactic – sharing a portion of the parking fine with the whistleblower. The bill would target violators who are blocking bus and bike lanes, crosswalks, and sidewalks, forcing pedestrians and bikers into dangerous traffic. Interestingly, the bill would not exempt cars with city-issued placards – including police vehicles – from the new law.
The bill would also increase illegal parking fine costs from $115 to $175. What, did you think the city would give a cut from its portion? The person who reported the violation would receive 25 percent of the $175, or about $44, which could add up for someone. The rest would go to the city’s coffers. The proposed law is mirrored after the city’s program that allows people to report idling cars for a percentage of the fine, which has resulted in sizable payouts.
After asking the New York Police Department to enforce the traffic laws for the last two years, Brooklyn City Councilman Stephen Levin decided to introduce the bill. He told NY1, “it [parking laws] just hasn’t really been enforced.” The intent is honorable, though it’s unclear if this will help deter would-be violators and reduce risks to pedestrians and bikers, though a cash incentive could entice people to report.
Often, parking enforcement feels like an inconvenience – parking meters, time limits, and other restrictions turn parking into a game for those looking to subvert the law. It’s an arduous headache for others. However, parking violators can put people in danger, especially when blocking a bike lane or crosswalk. Coopting citizens to rat out fellow residents for parking violations feels extreme, though the bill wouldn’t be needed if people followed and enforced the law. The bill still needs to be approved, and then the rules for the law have to be determined, so it could be a bit before the city starts paying out.