From the Times Ledger:
Astoria residents, business owners and elected officials said they are fed up with neighborhood traffic agents whom they say over-zealously hand out tickets to drivers and parked cars in one of the borough’s prime restaurant and shopping meccas.
Community leaders and residents said they have witnessed agents slap drivers with violations or been ticketed themselves for reasons they believe are completely unfair, while business owners are concerned excessive fines could scare away customers.
“I was pulling out of a parking space and dropping off my husband at a bank on 31st Street when a traffic cop pulls in right beside me so I can’t pull out,” said Anna Balash, who lives in Astoria. “I had to slam on my brakes. He gave me a ticket even though I was not parked — I was moving and in-gear. They know we can’t take a day off from work to fight it. They’re very aggressive.”
Balash said she received the $115 ticket in July. After she was given the fine, she said she then attempted to pull out a second time, but was again boxed in by an agent. But she was not ticketed a second time.
Simone Petromelis, a Westchester County attorney who grew up in College Point, said she was harassed by a traffic agent during the Greek Orthodox holy week in April.
“It was a horrible experience,” said Petromelis, whose father, Angelo Petromelis, was a former district leader in the community. “The agent was out of control. I pulled into a spot, which turned out to be a legal spot, to let out my elderly mother. The agent ran up and pressed against my car. She wouldn’t let me see her name. It was like a drug bust.”
She said the agent told her she was receiving a ticket, but would not tell her for what reason.
“She laughed at me and said, ‘Too bad, it’s not my holiday,’” said Petromelis.