Parking cheaters beat up on meters
By DAVID SEIFMAN City Hall Bureau Chief, NY Post
Irate, conniving motorists vandalized so many parking meters last year that the total number in operation citywide fell to the lowest level since at least 2000, officials said yesterday.
Figures in the preliminary Mayor's Management Report show that just 83.9 percent of the 55,000 on-street meters were working from July 1 to Oct. 31, 2009.
That's down sharply from the 90 percent average that had held steady through the last decade.
Officials said some drivers "beat up" meters or jammed coin slots to protest parking-fee hikes.
Others jammed meters to take advantage of a new law enacted by the City Council allowing parking at an inoperable meter for as long as time-limit sign allows, instead of just one hour. The law took effect last March.
A City Council official said the management report's explanation didn't make much sense, since motorists could easily have pulled the same stunt before the new law was enacted.
"[The city] might not be repairing them as fast," the official speculated.
The Department of Transportation reported that it has allocated additional resources to inspect and repair meters, and expects things to get back to normal quickly.