John Liu: Standing Up for Put-Upon Drivers

john_liu_bio_pic.JPGJoining other public officials in the war on parking enforcement, Queens City Council Member John Liu wants to keep drivers sane by changing the rule that permits them to park by a broken meter for one hour. Instead, Liu says, motorists should be allowed to defer to time limits set by street signs.

In an e-mail blast entitled "Parking Rules That Drive People Crazy," Liu staffer Barbara Baruch writes:

The City Council Transportation Committee, chaired by Council Member John Liu, is continuously proposing ways to make parking in New York City "a more civilized experience". One way is to prevent unreasonable parking tickets that chronically plague New Yorkers by clarifying confusing and inconsistent parking regulations such as the "broken meter rule".

The Department of Transportation says the current rule curbs vandalism. At a recent committee hearing, DOT Deputy Commissioner David Woloch testified that "The longer the time is extended, the greater incentive there is for someone to break a meter.” Liu and other council members, including Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, disagree.

"The DOT needs to find better balance," Liu said. "It’s sheer obstinacy to perpetuate the broken meter rule when the rule does not deter vandals and yet penalizes law-abiding motorists."

Liu has introduced legislation that would do away with the current rule, along with another bill requiring DOT to replace all coin meters with Muni-Meters by July 2010.