- Street Sweep Reform: Street sweeping four times a week on every street (twice a week on each side) is effective at generating revenue from tickets, but is not the most efficient way to keep our streets clean. It’s clear that things need to change. The plan calls for a reduction in street sweeping in many residential areas from twice a week on each side to once a week on each side. Our roads are cleaner than they have ever been in the past, but we still struggle to maintain some streets of the city, even with the current sweep schedule. That’s why I’m calling for a reduction in street sweeping, coupled with a shift in violation enforcement and a goal of a new, more effective fleet of street sweepers by 2020, with funds dedicated to adding new “boots on the ground” that can clean streets manually. Most major cities do not sweep four times per week, and still have clean streets. New York City, for example, does sweep most of its roads four times a week, but maintains that schedule only because they do not have what we have: Permit parking. If other cities can save their residents from this inconvenience, Jersey City can too.
- Ticket Amnesty Program: This plan would allow residents the relief of old parking tickets that restrict their ability to drive or get a job. Through an application program, this initiative would allow residents forgiveness for parking tickets that were issued before January 1, 2017. Additionally, if the applicant meets the required information and deadline, the ordinance would allow residents that have tickets that were issued AFTER January 1, 2017 the ability to pay fines without late fees. An amnesty program would allow the city to collect payment on fees that might have not otherwise been collected, while providing relief to working families that deserve a break.
- Reform “booting” laws: Anyone who has ever received a “boot” knows the inconvenience that it creates. Residents complained about a “boot” they received, after only one outstanding violation. While it is important for the city to have a means by which to enforce parking, it should be written in statute that after 5 outstanding tickets, a resident runs the risk of getting “booted.”
- Establish an on-line database for street sweeping rules: In this day and age, it’s important to have an on-line resource where residents can look up the schedule for street sweeping at any time, in any area. This plan establishes a much needed resource.
- Electronic fine reminder: Tickets often go unpaid because tickets are lost, forgotten, or removed from the car before the owner recognizes it. This ordinance would create a field on the parking permit form for a resident to put his/her email, which would trigger an automatic email upon receipt of a parking ticket.
- Terminate license suspensions for unpaid parking tickets: Councilman Lavarro is committed to ending the practice of the Driver’s License suspension for residents with unpaid parking tickets. If a parking ticket goes unpaid, residents can lose their driving privileges, a punishment that does not fit the “crime.” Furthermore, if a resident pays their parking ticket after their license is suspended, they are forced to pay a $100 fee to the State in order to restore their license, then wait up to three days to resume driving until the state updates its register. This practice begins as a minor parking violation, and often ends with handcuffs on innocent residents who are driving to work or school. It’s unfair, and it should stop. Incentives for residents to pay their fines should not come in the form of a threat of suspension. Instead, I propose that we simply do not allow residents with unpaid fines to acquire a new annual parking permit. If we properly enforce the permitting laws, this should alleviate the problem.