Brake the breaks: Williams, disabled rights advocates seek end to corporate parking violation fine discounts

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams joined disability activists to call for the passage of Intro. 1141 at City Hall on Nov. 29.
Photo by Dean Moses

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams joined disabled individuals outside City Hall on Nov. 29 to push for the passage of Intro. 1141, a bill that would eliminate parking fine discounts for mega corporations. 

The legislation (Intro. 1141) would prohibit any city agency from agreeing to reduce parking violation fines in exchange for a waiver of the right to contest parking violations. Additionally, it would require any fine dismissal (other than a specific technical reason) to be reviewed in a hearing and include a written determination by an administrative law judge.

According to Michael Schweinsburg of the 504 Democratic Club, New York City elected officials often rally behind the injustices of the Big Apple, but rarely do they stand behind the needs of the disabled. However, Schweinsburg lauded Williams on Monday afternoon for speaking up for a minority group who seldom gets a voice.

“We have endorsed this bill and have been fighting four years now,” Schweinsburg said, pointing out that the holiday season unleashes fleets of delivery trucks on almost every New York City street for the next few weeks.

Michael Schweinsburg from the 504 Democratic Club. Photo by Dean Moses

“Imagine if you’re disabled. If you’re lucky enough to have a disability parking placard it is useless because you can’t either get to your parking spot, or having found one, you can’t leave because you’re blocked by one of these trucks. Now for the 100,000 Access-A-Ride drivers, you depend on Access-A-Ride to leave them safely curbside, but it becomes nearly impossible for them to do so. And why is that? Because of a proposal that did not garner the approval of the city council, yet was enacted anyway by the Department of Finance. It’s called the stipulated buying program. The very companies that benefited from the reduction in fines are the mega rich companies that during the pandemic received enormous windfall profits. Companies like UPS, FedEx, Amazon, etc.,” Schweinsburg said.

Sponsored by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and 38 other elected officials, Schweinsburg and Williams want the City Council to pass this legislation that would expand curbside access for Access-A-Ride and individuals with disabilities.

Signs read: “Stop hogging my disabled persons parking spot.” Photo by Dean Moses

Williams believes that Into. 1141 has been left languishing in the City Council for far too long now, and it’s time to lift the burden.

“Not only are you blocking New Yorkers from being able to access the curb, being able to actually go  somewhere, you are overburdening New Yorkers who are from the disabled community,” Williams said.

Individuals with disabilities called for fair fines. Photo by Dean Moses