New Yorkers apparently ripped off for millions in parking tickets by NYPD

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Are you one of the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who has been ripped off for millions of dollars by the NYPD writing parking tickets they shouldn't have?

Tickets were written for years for a law that no longer exists, and can tickets cost motorists up to $165.

When Jane Kelly saw the orange summons on her car window, she didn't even know what to do with it. "I had never gotten a ticket for parking before," Kelly said.

Kelly, in her early 90s, knew she didn't deserve this one. She had parked in front of a pedestrian ramp on Shore Road in Bay Ridge, but not at a crosswalk.

In New York City, it is not against the rules to park in front of a sidewalk pedestrian ramp, provided that it's not connected to a crosswalk. It needs to be at a T shaped intersection, with no stop light or stop sign, and no crosswalk.

So she appealed. "They couldn't find any sign that said "no parking" but they still charged me the full amount," said Kelly, who ended up paying the ticket.

She is just like thousands of others, all of whom were innocent -- maybe $12 million in summonses that should never have been issued.

The law about blocking these ramps changed back in 2009, but never filtered down to the people who write the tickets.

"And not for $10 or $35 -- for $165. You know, it's a major bite," said Vincent Gentile, Bay Ridge (D).

Researcher Ben Wellington from the Pratt Institute brought all this to light and the NYPD acknowledged that it's been wrong all these years.

"Mr. Wellington's analysis identified errors the department made in issuing summonses ... The department has since sent a training message to all officers clarifying the rule change," the NYPD said in a statement.

It's too late for thousands like Kelly. "You think the city should pay you back?" Eyewitness News asked.

"I think they should," Kelly said.

See the exact wording of the rule below:

NYC Department of Transportation Traffic Rules:
Pedestrian ramps. Alongside or in a manner which obstructs a curb area which has been cut down, lowered or otherwise constructed or altered to provide access for persons with disabilities at a marked or unmarked crosswalk as defined in subdivision (b) of 4-01 of this chapter. A person may stop, stand or park a vehicle alongside or in a manner which obstructs a pedestrian ramp not located within such crosswalk, unless otherwise prohibited.
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