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Council to vote on mayor’s veto of parking ticket grace period

The City Council meets next week to vote on whether to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of legislation that would provide a five-minute grace period for drivers who get parking tickets.

The Council Transportation Committee paved the way to a final vote Monday by voting 10-1 to override the veto.

Bloomberg vetoed the parking legislation, saying it would cause chaos and bring confusion as well as confrontations between motorists and traffic enforcement officers.

The full Council is also scheduled to vote Dec. 21 on overriding the mayor’s veto of the clergy parking bill, providing more clergy members the right to free city parking passes and redefining rules governing who is eligible.

The Council Transportation Committee unanimously voted to override Bloomberg’s veto of the measure.

“New York City’s rules on eligibility for clergy parking are out of date and out of touch,” said City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), chairman of the Transportation Committee.

The parking grace period bill, sponsored by Councilman Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), provides a five-minute leeway for motorists who park cars at Muni-Meters or where signs explain parking regulations.

“In a time of fiscal austerity, the allure of the parking ticket cash cow may be difficult for the city to resist,” Liu said. “That’s precisely why this bill is needed: to ensure that the city focuses parking enforcement on safety and traffic flow and not on generating revenue. A five-minute grace period had been the practice for many years prior to this administration and it’s time to restore some civility to parking enforcement by the city.”

New York City parking regulations now exclude from parking permits clergy whose income is mostly from non-religious work. Critics said the rulesdiscriminated against pastors from poor areas.

Members of the clergy may now park in no-parking areas only for limited periods, but not outside schools or houses or at funerals. The new rules would merely require that a clergy member work an average of 20 hours a week for a religious-based entity and specifies no income for parking pass recipients.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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