The Manhasset Park District rail parking lot sounded almost percussion-like. I took my sunglasses off for a really good look. Car after car after car sported a distinctive and quite familiar-shaped piece of cream-colored paper, each one flapping against windshields. As former Mayor of Plandome Heights involved improving several aspects of village court, I could spot a violation ticket from a distance. But never in my life had I seen so many all at once.
Park District Officer Paul Nairin spotted me on the lot. I asked him about the number of tickets written. He explained that despite clearly marked signage in numerous locations across the parking lot non-residents parked without purchasing a $6 pass from the munimeter, The Manhasset Press published two front page articles in the past month and flyers were put on car windshields notifying residents of the policy change.
Nairin had written 66 tickets that day and it was only 3:30PM. He thought it was likely by the time his shift ended at 4 o’clock, he would have issued 75 tickets. The next day, Sunday, he was scheduled to be on duty again and would make sure to bring a new ticket violation book.
The fine associated with the violation is $70. Those of us living in Manhasset and frequent users of the LIRR lot know that residents’ cars must have permits affixed to their vehicles’ rear bumpers. The cost is a one-time $35 registration fee for the life of the vehicle. This nominal fee allows a commuter to park at the LIRR lot for an additional daily pass of $3 or an annual tag costing $700. Additionally, such an appropriately permitted vehicle may park without the daily pass on weekends and holidays. Weekend parking used to be free for non-permitted cars as well. Earlier this year, the Manhasset Park District changed its rules and now requires non-permitted vehicles pay a $6 daily fee for weekend parking. The revenue would help defray the costs involved in securing and maintaining the lot, making sure cars are not vandalized, removing snow and leaves alike, fixing asphalt cracks etc.
Knowing that there would be a need to socialize this change, the Commissioners instructed the Officers to circulate the flyers weekend after weekend and delay enforcement until now.
I spotted three taxi drivers waiting for would-be passengers to alight from the next train. Confirming they had been working the day, they told me they watched the ticketing and interaction between the code enforcement officer and vehicle owners, providing much commentary for the day’s discussions. None of the men wanted to use their names but did want to contribute to the story. The three men agreed unanimously three times: the worst offender was the Mercedes with a ‘police surgeon’ sign on the dashboard, the runner up was the car with a note that the ‘muni meter was broken’, and that it was pretty clear that “some folks didn’t get the memo!”