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Testimony on Freight & Delivery Parking Fine Programs

Today, the Partnership for New York City submitted testimony to the New York City Council on the Commercial Abatement and Stipulated Parking Fine Programs.

New York City Council Committees on Finance and Transportation

Int. 1141-2018, prohibiting any city agency from agreeing to reduce fines for parking violations in exchange for a waiver of the right to contest parking violations

Thank you Chairs Dromm and Rodriguez and members of the committees for the opportunity to testify on legislation that would prohibit the city from operating the Commercial Abatement Program and the Stipulated Fine Program. The Partnership for New York City represents the city’s business leaders and largest private sector employers and we work to enhance the economy of the five boroughs of New York City.

Abolishing the Commercial Abatement and Stipulated Parking Fine Programs will not improve New York City’s traffic and parking problems. Our buildings and streets are not designed to accommodate the volume and types of commercial freight activity that a modern economy requires. E-commerce is bringing more trucks to neighborhoods where the lack of loading and commercial parking zones is particularly acute. Changes in usage of our streets and sidewalks such as bike lanes, bus lanes and clear curbs have reduced parking and standing spaces. It has become almost impossible for commercial drivers to find legal parking or standing spaces.

The Commercial Abatement and Stipulated Parking Fine Programs were an attempt to provide a fair and predictable way to deal with the inability of the city to accommodate freight and service deliveries. By requiring participating companies to waive their right to contest violations, these programs also helped reduce the burden on the city’s administrative courts. Without these programs, delivery and service companies will contest many tickets, resulting in dismissals or reductions in fines, particularly in cases involving “expeditious delivery.”

The city must figure out how to legally accommodate commercial deliveries and service vehicles rather than punishing companies for the essential conduct of business. Some actions could be taken immediately, such as freeing up more curb space by reducing parking placards and enforcement of illegal placard parking, expanding loading zones and commercial parking spaces, providing incentives for off-hours deliveries and encouraging alternative delivery mechanisms (e.g., bicycles).

We propose that the Council establish a freight and service delivery task force to examine other measures that could be taken to actually address what will be a growing problem for the city and industry. For example, the conversion of parking lot space to last mile delivery hubs may be possible as congestion pricing, driverless cars and improved transit options reduce demand for off-street parking. Removing private cars from loading dock areas, encouraging night deliveries, and restricting employees who work in central business districts from receiving personal deliveries at work are a few ideas that could be explored.

We are all paying for the punitive fines that emanate from failure to deal with this issue in a constructive way. Elimination of the Commercial Abatement and Stipulated Parking Fine Programs would accomplish nothing but a return to a more cumbersome and expensive system. The Partnership would be happy to work with you on coming up with real solutions to the delivery challenges facing the city.