A Brooklyn resident has brought attention to errors in parking tickets throughout the city.
Ben Wellington got multiple tickets for parking in front of a pedestrian ramp on his block in Brooklyn. According to a 2009 traffic rule change, it is legal to park in front of pedestrian ramps that are not connected to a crosswalk, which was the case for Wellington.
Each time Wellington got the tickets dismissed, but he decided to look at the NYC Open Data on parking tickets to see how common the incorrect tickets were. He found that nearly 2,000 parking spots that were given tickets generating about $1.7 million in the last two and half years were given to cars in legal spots. He shared his findings Wednesday in a post on his blog, I Quant NY.
The address where the most tickets for parking in front of a pedestrian ramp were issued is 575 Ocean Ave. in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Wellington found. More than $48,000 in parking fines were issued in the last two and a half years, according to the data. After looking the space up on Google Maps, Wellington saw that the space is actually legal.
He continued to look up images of the other top spots where more than $40,000 in parking fines were issued, and each one was legal.
“I then selected 30 random spots that had received five or more tickets over the time period, and based on Google Maps, found that all of them appeared to be legal parking spots!” Wellington wrote.
After Wellington shared his findings with the NYPD, the department responded with a statement admitting to the errors.
“Mr. Wellington’s analysis identified errors the department made in issuing parking summonses,” the NYPD said in a statement sent to amNewYork. “It appears to be a misunderstanding by officers on patrol of a recent, abstruse change in the parking rules.”
The statement said that many patrol officers were unfamiliar with the rule change.
“When the rule changed in 2009 to allow for certain pedestrian ramps to be blocked by parked vehicles, the department focused training on traffic agents, who write the majority of summonses,” the statement read. “Yet, the majority of summonses written for this code violation were written by police officers.”
Wellington said the response from the NYPD is the most honest and proactive response he has seen from a city agency.
“It’s amazing to see that sort of response,” Wellington told amNewYork. “It’s a good sign for the agency.”
Wellington said he will probably check the data again to see if there is a change.
As for advice to understanding all the parking laws in New York City, Wellington says good luck. “It’s complicated,” he said, but he recommends checking online if there is ever a question about whether a ticket is issued correctly.