New parking grace period takes effect Sunday

March 22, 2010 3:25:34 PM PDT
Call it mercy, or grace. Either way, New Yorkers are getting a reprieve from "Gotcha" parking tickets. "I got a ticket three minutes for double parking. And I didn't see the cop come by," said Alex Stevens, an Upper West Side resident.

"I go buy a ticket. And by the time you go back to the car you have a ticket. And the guy says it's too late. Once I feel asleep for five minutes. I woke up and had a ticket," said Saad Saad, a local restaurant owner.

Drivers will now benefit from a new law that kicks in Sunday.

It gives them a five minute window from the time alternate side parking zones are enforced before they are ticketed.

It buys drivers just a little more much needed time.

"The parking ballet. It's quite a scene. It's a dance people do with their cars," said Steve Douglas, an Upper West Side resident.

The same five minute grace period applies to muni-meters.

This is huge for Saad Saad.

He spends hours staking out a spot everyday to park near his Columbus Avenue restaurant.

"I get about ticket every week, every ten days," said Saad.

The city council passed the law last year, overriding a veto by Mayor Bloomberg.

His concern was how do you police a five minute grace period.

Who's watch would you use?

"But will people encroach on it, will it be six minutes over, then they still get the one minute, so who knows," said Douglas.

Some New Yorkers are still cynical.

"They tax you on every ounce of soda you want to buy, but they'll give you a five minute grace period on your parking. That sounds fair," said Seth Rothman, an Upper West Side resident.

Others still want more.

"Five minutes is good, because you forget. What would be nice, two hour parking would be nice. Three hour parking would be nice," said Saad.