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Confused Drivers Fined After Misleading Sign Bans Parking for One Hour

MIDTOWN EAST — A confusing no-standing sign on Second Avenue is earning violators a hefty fine — and the city a lot of ire — for parking for a mere 59 minutes on Saturday nights.

The sign, located between 51st and 52nd Streets, specifically reads that there is no standing on the avenue Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 6 am.

Like in many neighborhoods in the city, some drivers have interpreted that sign to mean that the restriction ends at at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

Not so, say the city's intrepid parking inspectors, who have been hitting cars with tickets for $115 fines between 11 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Saturday night, in what critics call an unfair loophole.

“What is the purpose of not being able to park on Second Avenue from 11 p.m. until midnight on Sunday morning?” said Paul Mandel, a 71-year-old resident of Brooklyn Heights who received a $115 parking ticket for parking at 11:17 p.m. last Saturday.

“They walk down Second Avenue writing all the tickets they can in one hour at this outrageous fine.”

According to a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, curbside regulations like this one were put in place at the request of the community to assist the police department in keeping the curb clear of parked vehicles.

The regulations reduce noise and gathering of people during the late hours when adjacent clubs are in operation, she explained.

On Apr. 27, Mandel parked his car on the avenue to stop into a store, and five minutes later, he found a police officer writing up a ticket at 11:17 p.m., said Mandel, who produced the ticket that confirmed the date and time.

“They’re writing tickets like they’re going out of style,” he said. “They were batting out one ticket after another.”

He tried appealing the ticket, citing that the parking sign was too confusing, but his appeal was turned down, Mandel said.

Despite DOT's reasoning, some business owners on the block said that the sign wasn't fair, including Dominick Sannino, owner of Mimi’s Piano Bar located across the street from the parking sign, who noted that one of his pianists was slapped with a heavy fine for parking on the avenue during the prohibited hour.

“That’s bulls—t,” said Sannino. “It’s not a fair sign. It just doesn’t make sense.”

DCPI did not respond to a request for comment on enforcement of the parking sign.