Southern Brooklyn

Nearly 5 Months After Sandy, DOT Removes Damaged Muni-Meters – But Still Expects You To Pay For Parking

Muni-Meters across the Sandy-damaged areas have been removed and replaced with traffic cones.

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: The Department of Transportation cut down and removed dozens of Muni-Meter machines this week. But instead of suspending parking regulations on affected streets, the agency is asking residents to walk several blocks to the nearest meter and pay.

The move comes nearly five months after Superstorm Sandy wrecked the machines, which were installed throughout the district just last summer. Since the storm, drivers ticketed for parking on blocks with damaged machines flooded Community Board 15 with complaints.

“We received several calls from people on Sheepshead Road,” said Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo. “Walking from Emmons Avenue to Voorhies Avenue, every single meter is damaged.”

Scavo added that the problems weren’t just on Emmons or Sheepshead Bay Road, but on other popular commercial strips like Coney Island Avenue, where she witnessed a woman receive a ticket even though she left a note on the dashboard explaining that all nearby meters were broken.

Scavo said she has been pressing the DOT to fix the machines for months, but that the agency refused to take complaints without having the specific identification number for each machine.

The Board was not notified earlier this week when the agency came through and removed machines as far north as Avenue Z, including on side streets.

The Department of Transportation has confirmed to Sheepshead Bites that the machines were removed because of Sandy-related damage, and added that motorists are still expected to pay at the nearest Muni-Meter.

But finding that meter could prove tricky. During a walk from Emmons Avenue up Sheepshead Bay Road, the first meter Sheepshead Bites encountered was on Jerome Avenue and East 17th Street, tucked between utility poles and approximately a third of a mile from where we started.

“I love the idea of these Muni-Meters: to expedite parking, not make it a tragedy. It’s ridiculous,” said Scavo. “You’re talking Emmons Avenue, Sheepshead Bay Road, Voorhies Avenue. Where am I going to walk if I’ve got children? If I’m elderly? I’m going to walk around for blocks looking for an operable Muni-Meter?” said Scavo.

The situation could be better, she noted, if the DOT made clear where the nearest working meter could be found.

“If DOT put a sign on the broken meter saying nearest Muni-Meter, one block north, fine. But where are you going to find them? I don’t even know where to look,” she said.

Residents shouldn’t pay the tickets, and instead should fight them, Scavo urged.

The latest move is injury heaped on top of insult, said Scavo, who blasted the agency for addressing it now, several months after the machines were first damaged.

“You’re not talking as if the storm is yesterday. This storm if five months old. Don’t you think the DOT should have this problem rectified already?” Scavo fumed. “They sure know how to give the ticket; let them go get those things fixed first.”

UPDATE (2:30 p.m. on March 15): We just received a note from a business owner on Sheepshead Bay Road, who wrote:

Just about 1:00 today Agents went up Sheepshead Bay Rd and gave out a dozen tickets from end to end to every parked car. As you know, there are no meters on SB Rd or Voohries now, in either direction. I spoke to the two agents who told me they were under orders to issue, and I told them that I would be calling the Traffic Agency Inspector; then they left but returned with their supervisor, who I spoke with. She informed me that she was contacting her superiors and she agreed it was not right. We shall see if they lay off now or not, until working meters are installed.

Yes, we will see. Remember, you should fight these tickets!

Comment policy


  1. New legislation looks to be needed here where a functional muni-meter needs to be present on the same block on either side of the street in order for a parking ticket to be issued.

  2. When muni-meters were first installed, there were two on every block. When the program was expanded, they only put one per block on some blocks. The legislation should require a maximum walking distance to a muni-meter or state it be on the same block, just like the maximum distance to walk to find a parking regulation which is 600 feet. if it takes you ten minutes to find a meter and ten minutes to return to your car, chances are you will receive a ticket within that time. Then you have to lose money to fight it. Not at all fair, but Bloomberg only cares about his rich friends not the average citizen who he feels is to dumb to make a personal choice of what size soda to buy.

    This story does not surprise me. It is par for the course for DOT.

  3. That’s BS. As usual, the outer boroughs are treated like 2nd class citizens. In lower Manhattan where they have a similar problem with their Muni Meters,the DOT was ignoring the meters until a few weeks ago. They now let you park for one hour from when they observe your car parked there. The same as if you were parked at a broken old school meter.

  4. You have a legal 5 minute grace period before a ticket will be issued (as of May 2010). I think that’s plenty of time* to either find another muni-meter or call 311 and make a complaint as a record of the muni-meter being at fault in case you will be issued a ticket. Calling 311 is my preferred way because you can use your confirmation number to contest the issued ticket. Unfortunately some people are not savvy enough to do this.

    *If you walk at 3mph you can cover ~650′ in 2.5 minutes.

  5. as I travel through Brooklyn, I am experiencing another phenomena that is becoming more and more widespread. The muni meter coin slots are being “spiked”. Most recently, I found this on the West side of Avenue U and on New Utrecht Avenue around the 70’s. The general feeling amongst my friends and relatives is that there will be nothing short of a revolution if DOT continues to ignore the issues surrounding the entire muni meter fiasco.
    This will not go away………..

  6. Oh Arrogant One, not everyone is sophisticated as you. You could have said the same thing without insulting people!

    You should be proud that you gave an excellent suggestion! What if that whole neighborhood flooded 311 with calls for DOT to get its ass moving on these situations?

  7. These muni-machines are becoming a cash cow for the city.

    First, I saw on the news that the machines don’t always have the correct time, I recently used the municipal lot in Sheepshead Bay which sits on Ave. Z. I checked the time on the machine with my iPhone. Sure enough, the machine’s time was three minutes behind my phone. I made note of the time on the receipt before I displayed it on my dashboard. However, it you don’t do that, lock the receipt in your car and then check the time by your watch or phone, you’re going to judge your time by that and assume that your time is the same as the machine. The chances are good that you’ll return to your car late and could end up with a ticket, five minute grace period or not!

    Secondly, I also noticed the other day that the machines were removed on Emmons Ave. from Ocean Ave. going east up to and including in front of the Sunrise Nursing Home. If your research indicates that the nearest working machines are one-third of a mile away, is it reasonable to ask drivers to walk that at least once, maybe twice while they patronize businesses along Emmons Ave.? I think it is.

    The end result is drivers will either fork over the fine for the summons or will have to take time off from work to go to court and fight the ticket. In that case, the ticket probably still won’t be voided. The judge will back up the notion that one should look for a working machine and MIGHT reduce the ticket as your consolation prize for taking the time to go to court.

  8. ^The average person doesn’t know about the five minute grace period and the traffic agents, especially at month’s end, don’t really care. I’m handicapped and am not walking 650 feet once, maybe twice, to feed the nearest machine. This is a great way to chase away business from the local merchants who are still recovering from the affects of Sandy.

  9. More reason to only shop in civilized areas outside of Khazar infested New York City. In NJ or Long Island, there is free parking, nicer civilized english speaking people, no agents of bloomberg to rob you, no phony police quota driven tickets, no one vandalizes your car or robs you and you get far better deals.

    Khazars were always known to rob travelers, nothing has changed.

  10. I don’t feel you should be walking 650′ to a muni-meter which is why calling 311 is the better option. I think BrooklynBus’s suggestion about having a 600′ max walking distance for parking regulation is absurd and an unnecessary waste of legislative time when the current 5 min grace period allows just that and either one wouldn’t make a difference if a traffic agent is trying to hit a quota. Calling 311 is always the best option.

  11. What about Metnick’s comment about the time on the meter nt always being correct. There goes three of your five minute grace period. Most people are in a hurry. How many are going to remember to check the time each time they park. Just the idea tat you have to walk any distance to park after younare paying money for the privilege to park us ridiculous. First you walk to the meter, then you walk back to your car, then possibly have to retrace your steps a third time is just annoying especially if walking is a problem or you.

    The only reason the City switched to muni-meters is so that they can charge more than once for the same time and get more revenue. It only helps the city and inconveniences everyone else.

  12. You should probably read what I wrote about the 5 minute grace period and the 600′ rule you suggested. Focus on the part where they accomplish the same thing, which is nothing. Calling 311 is the best option since it gives you the ability to record the issue with the muni-meter in the case you do get a ticket and they will tell you the rules on your ability to park in the spot and for how long. I’m not defending muni-meters, I’m simply telling you the best option if one is broken.

  13. I am not arguing with you. 311 is the best option.

    Someone suggested crossing the street to find a working muni-meter and in some cases tat may not even be a good choice is the street is wide and there is a lot of traffic. However, it is the city’s responsibility to have these machines working, not the motorist’s to find one that works.

  14. All drivers must be punished. All drivers are evil. All drivers should dump there cars and ride a bike. All drivers must be fined for daring to choose to drive over walking or cycling. All drivers are fat and out of shape. All drivers are assholes. So sayeth Bloomberg and Khan.

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