Wednesday’s Headlines: Lack of Urgency Edition

It's not enough.
It's not enough.

People are always asking us, “Why don’t drivers with hundreds of dollars in parking and dozens of reckless moving violation tickets get taken off the road?” It’s a question that came up when we did our big story last week about a Texas driver with 149 camera-issued and parking tickets whose reign of terror only ended when he totaled and ignited his car in a crash.

This question came up again on Tuesday when we were at Zucker’s on Chambers Street (seriously — great bagel) and saw a parking agent slap yet another ticket on this Honda minivan parked at a hydrant:

Go ahead: Run the plate.
Go ahead: Run the plate on Howsmydriving.

Being us, we ran the plate: The guy (we later confirmed his gender) has 12 school-zone speeding tickets ($50 each) and 20 parking tickets ($65-$115 each) since late 2020.

But the city ticket database also shows that this driver — who, remember, has driven so recklessly that he should not be on the road at all — has consistently paid his tickets (though he currently owes $780). And by law, the sheriff can’t tow him until at least $350 of those tickets are declared “in judgment” after a hearing.

So this driver — whose camera violations would have put 48 points on his DMV record if camera-issued tickets counted on a DMV record, silly us — remains on the road … until, apparently, he kills someone or totals his car in a crash with a city war monument or, you know, a kid.

The issue of course is that just three of these 11+-miles-per-hour speeding tickets would equal 12 points — enough to trigger a license suspension — if they were issued by a police officer, not a camera. So everyone in city government throws up their collective hands.

No city agency is currently at fault in the case of this one Honda. But there’s a lesson there because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ticking time bombs on the road right now, yet somehow we lack the urgency to address the problem. As long as these recidivists continue to pay their tickets, they can continue to endanger our communities.


In other news from a mostly news-free day:

  • Is it so much to ask that the city set aside a measly 1 percent of its budget (like $990 million) for the Parks Department (which currently gets about half that)? (amNY)
  • Friend of Transit Gil Penalosa told us about a great idea being pioneered in New Zealand: To reduce fuel use and driving, officials there have cut the transit fare by half. (Via Twitter) Our friends at the MTA countered they’re doing what they can, having announced a series of discounts, including the expanded CityTicket, which now offers a $5 flat fare for LIRR and Metro-North travel within New York City on weekends and on weekday off-peak trains, and fare capping with OMNY. It’s a start.
  • Meanwhile, Yonah Freemark is upset about the whole thing:

  • A bridge too far? Guys, you’ve got the wrong Cuomo. (NY Post)
  • All our friends — Reinvent Albany, StreetsPAC, Riders Alliance et al — are telling Gov. Hochul to not make the same mistake as the original “Wrong Way” LaGuardia AirTrain. (NY Post)
  • And, finally, amNY followed its own story about the little boat that sunk in the fecal Gowanus Canal, which was an odd editorial decision given that Kevin Duggan didn’t use a single pun in his story (not even the obvious headline, “OOZE CRUISE!” or “CRAPSIZE” or the obvious lede, “It’s a hard muck story” or “Talk about a poop deck!” We could go on all day.)