New York City drivers have a reputation for being mean and a little crazy. Maybe it’s because there’s no way to score a decent parking spot without being a bit aggressive and doing mental gymnastics to decrypt ambiguous signs. Once you’re parked, you’re never really sure, and the anxiety doesn’t go away until returning to your car. Every so often anxiety turns to rage as you come to find a pretty orange envelope on your windshield and it’s not an invitation to the masquerade ball.
For all the pain they cause New Yorkers, parking tickets generate a large amount of revenue for city infrastructure. Over 10 million tickets were issued during the last fiscal year, more than enough for every man, woman, and child in the city, with a few leftover for their pets. Using ticket data provided by the city, we’ve parsed out the worst neighborhoods to park in New York City.
At the top of the list is the Upper East Side, where just shy of 600,000 tickets were issued in the 2015 fiscal year, representing almost 6% of total tickets, at a rate of about 2.8 tickets per capita. Midtown North and Times Square follow closely with over 400,000 tickets each and over 4% of all tickets issued.
Their per capita ticket numbers tell a scarier story: in Midtown North 7.9 tickets are issued per person, while in Times Square that number balloons to 19.8 tickets per resident. This may be due to the lower density of residential areas here, but seeing as how less than 45% of NYC households have a car, one can infer that there’s certainly a lot of repeat victims in these areas.
These addresses were easy targets and amassed more tickets than a small city. Shopping centers and hospitals took top spots; showing that meter maids don't care whether you're getting a new kidney or new shoes.
Can you guess which area racked up the most offenses for parking in handicapped-designated spots? Staten Island's West Shore amassed nearly 12% (1,355) of the city’s violations for illegally parking in a spot reserved for handicapped despite having just 0.24% (23,987) of the city’s total tickets. We know some tickets are bad luck, but that's just bad judgement.
It’s nearly impossible to hide from the Department of Finance, the agency that manages the highly lucrative, $500 million plus in parking ticket revenue. So don’t take it out on the officers as the money doesn’t go in their pockets. Luckily there are a few neighborhoods that aren’t hit as hard. The Lower East Side had just 1% of total tickets (103,498) despite having a high population density. Greenpoint, Brooklyn also ranked as a low-ticketed neighborhood, with just over 1.1% of the year’s tickets (109,927).
The solution for many New Yorkers is to pay a monthly fee to park in a garage. This is out of reach for many, as costs can range from $300 to well over $600, especially if you have an SUV. At the lower end that's the cost of three or four tickets, and the time it saves can provide an opportunity to do more lucrative things than circling the block in your Maserati looking for parking. On the flip side, a ticket every once in awhile is certainly cheaper than paying for a garage, plus you get that warm feeling knowing your money is going to important stuff.