Volume 21, Number 34 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | December 26 - January 1, 2009

Transit Sam

Transit Sam

By Sam Scwartz

Dear Sam,
The Ravitch commission report seems very costly all around with tolls on all East River and Harlem River bridges. I think Comptroller Bill Thompson’s registration plan (higher fees over certain weight) to balance the budget was a good idea, but why not take it another step further and apply it to the entire state instead of just the 12 counties serviced by the M.T.A.?
Jake, via e-mail

Dear Jake,
Thompson’s plan is worth consideration although I do worry about people registering their cars in N.J. to beat the tax. I‘d urge Governors Paterson and Corzine to get together and come up with a bi-state plan (my dream is a tri-state approach with Governor Rell of Connecticut) to fund transit regionally.

Dear Sam:
Can you define exactly what a business district is, in reference to making a U-turn? I think it’s important to clarify this with all the tourists and shoppers in town.
Jill, Lower East Side

Dear Jill:
U-turns are not permitted in business districts anywhere in N.Y. State. Generally, if half a block is commercial it’s a business district. Specially, here’s the definition — Section 105 of the N.Y.S. Vehicle and Traffic Laws states, “The territory contiguous to and including a highway when within any 600 feet along such highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes, including but not limited to hotels, banks, office buildings, rail road stations, and public buildings, which occupy, at least 300 feet of frontage on one side or 300 feet collectively on both sides of the highway.”

Dear Sam,
While attending a Broadway show, I parked too close to a fire hydrant and received two parking tickets. One was issued at 1:43 p.m., nine feet from hydrant, and the other at 3:57 p.m., two feet from hydrant, by two different agents. Can I receive two tickets for the same violation in just over two hours? Also, is either ticket invalid because the distance to the hydrant is different on each ticket?
Barry, via e-mail

Dear Barry,
1. Yes 2. No. As long as the vehicle is in violation, it can be cited numerous times, especially in the case of a hydrant. You’re lucky you weren’t towed! As for the distance, the two different distances listed on the ticket were both less than 15 feet so that argument is a weak one. Next time, spring for a garage!

Sam Schwartz, a former first deputy commissioner of city transportation, is president and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering, a traffic engineering consulting firm to private and public entities including the Port Authority at the World Trade Center site. Email your questions to TransitSam@DowntownExpress.com




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