Data analyst Ben Wellington claims that that the NYPD has been systematically ticketing legally parked cars for years
. Doing so, he says, helps NYPD collect millions of dollars every year. In a blog post, Wellington notes about a change of law in 2008
(PDF) which allowed one in New York City to park their car in front of a sidewalk pedestrian ramp -- provided it's not connected to a crosswalk. Despite this, the NYPD continues to ticket people. To check how many more people are falling for this, Wellington looked into NYC's Open Data portal, and his findings are startling. In front of 575 Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn, which is in the middle of the block, with no crosswalk, over $48,000 in parking fines were issued in the last 2.5 years. He writes: 1705 Canton Avenue in Brooklyn, 273 Tickets, $45,045: Legal. 270-05 76 Avenue in Queens, 256 Tickets ($42,440) Legal. 143-49 Cherry Ave, Queens, 246 Tickets, ($40,590). Legal. A spot in Battery Park, ranked #16 on my list and the top spot in Manhattan, had 116 tickets ($19,140) and turned out to be legal.
Wellington wrote to the NYPD about this, and he got the following response: Mr. Wellington's analysis identified errors the department made in issuing parking summonses. It appears to be a misunderstanding by officers on patrol of a recent, abstruse change in the parking rules. We appreciate Mr. Wellington bringing this anomaly to our attention. The department's internal analysis found that patrol officers who are unfamiliar with the change have observed vehicles parked in front of pedestrian ramps and issued a summons in error. 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.