'Safety Zone' leading to traffic tickets

Seven On Your Side
October 1, 2008 2:50:58 PM PDT
It's frustrating enough to find parking around New York. Some drivers were lucky enough to find spots -- only to be given tickets because the city says they shouldn't have parked there, but it turns out -- the city was wrong and it took Tappy Phillips and 7 on Your Side to get things fixed. For 18 years, Richard Troche has had trouble finding parking in his neighborhood.

"It can be anywhere ten to twenty to thirty minutes up and down. The local blocks. Up and down. Just circling trying to find a spot available," said Troche.

So one day last August, Richard parked in a 'marked' spot.

Troche adds, "When I went the next morning, low and behold, a nice orange envelope on the windshield."

A ticket for $115 for parking in a "safety zone." Years ago, the Ridgewood Ambulance Corps was there, but they are now blocks away, and Richard wasn't the only one being ticketed.

We kept on telling the policeman that come, give tickets that it's not right. There's no safety zone here because it's just a regular private house," said Mary Serban.

Eyewitness News found the members of the ambulance corp. They said they notified the city Department of Transportation when they moved 5 years ago.

The no-parking signs were taken down, and moved to the ambulance corps's new location. But the zebra stripes on the street remained. And the police kept handing out tickets.

And even when Richard pleaded not guilty and showed pictures to the court, the judge told him it was a safety zone, and he could not park there.

Eyewitness News called the DOT, who agreed with Richard that the safety zone was long gone.

They said they hadn't painted the stripes and didn't know who did. The ambulance corps told us they did not.

But within days, the DOT sent out a crew and removed what remained of the stripes.

Richard got a letter Tuesday, stating the ticket was overturned and the city is in the process of refunding his money.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips

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