Today’s news:

Curb cuts still costing motorists big bucks

Six months after a rule change by the Department of Transportation to permit parking next to curb cuts at certain T intersections, violations are still being issued for it, and, on occasion, the city’s administrative law judges are still upholding the tickets.

This is a reality that long−time Bay Ridge resident Susan Grandelli has learned to her cost.

Since April, Grandelli has gotten three tickets for parking across the curb cuts at T intersections that met the DOT criteria for legal parking. One was dismissed by the administrative law judge who ruled on her appeal, one was upheld, and, as of this writing, she is still waiting for a decision on the third.

The rule, as enunciated on the DOT Web site, says, “Parking is now permitted at those T intersections where the adjacent (major) street is not marked with a crosswalk and not controlled by all−way stop signs or traffic signals, even if there is a curb cut at the location.” The rule has been in effect, according to DOT’s website, since December 2008.

“I read it and said, ‘Isn’t this wonderful,’” Grandelli recalled. “So I parked in one. It met all the criteria, but I got a ticket. If I’m aware of the new rule, don’t you think they should be aware of it?”

Unfortunately, however, the news doesn’t appear to have made it down to all the forces on the ground.

Grandelli even printed out the rule from DOT’s website, and left it visible in her windshield after she got her first ticket. While, a few times, she didn’t get tickets, in terms of inconvenience, those occasions were overshadowed by the trio of occasions when she found the bright orange envelopes on her windshield.

In the meantime, even though the spots are legal, Grandelli has made up her mind never to park at one again. “I shouldn’t constantly have to fight something that’s legal,” she contends. “I can’t afford to keep doing this.” In fact, to appeal the ticket that was upheld, Grandelli first had to pay the fine.

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, to whom Grandelli brought her tickets, said that the situation, “Proves to me that we have an administrative nightmare in the adjudication of tickets. It’s clear that DOT put out a rule that exempts curb cuts at these particular intersections from ticketing, yet we have a haphazard decision process from the administrative law judges. Some dismiss the tickets. Others find the motorists guilty, when the rule is clear that these sites are exempt.”

Gentile said that, while he was fighting to get justice for Grandelli, he was also “trying to get both DOT and particularly Traffic Enforcement to alert everyone, all the traffic enforcement agents, that these are exempt locations based on the new DOT rule.”

He’s also trying to get the word to the administrative law judges, Gentile said, “so if a ticket is issued, it will be quickly dismissed.”

“What’s so frustrating is that I go out of my way to avoid tickets, so I don’t have too many of them,” Grandelli concluded. “If you park where you are supposed to be able to park, you shouldn’t get a ticket.”

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