Daily News uncovers possible NYCDOT violations of ADA

The New York Daily News has uncovered a ticket trap that catches some of New York’s most vulnerable drivers: the illiterate.

Just four spaces on Prospect Park West generated $72,000 in ticket revenue over six months last year, according to data obtained from the city by Greg Smithsimon, a professor at Brooklyn College.

Todd Maisel/NYDN

“I felt stupid,” said Mr. Smithsimon, according to the Daily News.

Next to these spaces are two signs dictating the spaces’ use. The higher one, in red, states that no standing is allowed from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day from April 1 to September 30. The lower one, in white, carves out one 90-minute block a week for street cleaning.

Most New Yorkers with a car know that a parking space is illegal if any restriction applies. Yet despite submitting a dissertation (one presumes), passing written and visual tests to obtain his license, and putting together a note warning other drivers of the alleged trap, Mr. Smithsimon was unable to parse the sign, which passersby on a recent afternoon called “plain as day” and “easy to read”.

He deferred instead to the white painted lines on the street, assuming they were there to mark a legal space. (They do, in fact: for 10 hours a day during the summer, and 24 hours a day during the winter, except for 90 minutes on Tuesdays, which is why that second sign is there.)

According to Gonzo Jones, an attorney specializing in disability law, illiteracy can qualify a person for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“If the disability stems from an actual impairment, and not from some cultural or economic disadvantage, then it could be subject to ADA protections,” said Mr. Jones, citing strokes as a common reason for illiteracy in adulthood.

“Although,” he added, “I imagine it would be hard to be a professor if one suddenly couldn’t read.”

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3 Responses to Daily News uncovers possible NYCDOT violations of ADA

  1. Sarah says:

    Keith! I parked here on April 11th and got a ticket! I felt so stupid and figured it was a brand new sign which is why I hadn’t thought to look for it. I think we get used to knowing which side of the street has street cleaning on which days so when there is a regulation that suddenly comes into play, we aren’t double checking. I commute to work via car 3 days a week now and a I had gotten home late and saw this spot a block from my place and thought- wohoo! -and there were three other cars also parked there. A day later I’ve got a $115 ticket which I actually just tried to refute. (and I’m sure won’t work but $115 is no small change for this social worker) I have since seen at least 15 people ticketed there just when walking by, I’ve warned people not to park there and I’ve seen people get towed! I am HYPER VIGILANT about parking- l don’t even try and squeeze in any kind of spot near a hydrant and after 6 months of driving and parking regularly in the city -this is my first ticket. I don’t know about this ADA argument and I appreciate that the money goes toward the city but these spots are a little ridiculous.

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  3. TOM says:

    Would you entertain that the NYCDOT can and does make mistakes?

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