Friday, November 4, 2011

Brooklyn Councilman aims to ban hated parking violation stickers

 	Pedro Batista, 45, uses Windex and a razor blade - and plenty of elbow grease - to remove a Sanitation Department violation sticker from his car, which was parked on the wrong side of 58th St. during alternate-side parking and blocked a Sanitation sweeper.

Pedro Batista, 45, uses Windex and a razor blade - and plenty of elbow grease - to remove a Sanitation Department violation sticker from his car, which was parked on the wrong side of 58th St. during alternate-side parking and blocked a Sanitation sweeper.

It took just seconds for a Sanitation supervisor to slap the neon-green sticker on a white van in Sunset Park — and six minutes, four solvents, a razor blade and lots of elbow grease to remove it.

It’s a scene that plays out hundreds of times a week across the city as city workers patrol streets ahead of sweepers on alternate-side parking days.

The curse-worthy decals are the bane of any New Yorker who’s ever forgotten to move their car — and a City Council member is pushing to ban them.

But the Sanitation Department, which affixes about 400 stickers a week, says they’re more effective than fines in making motorists fear the sweeper.

Sanitation Supervisor Joseph Puzio may have been the least popular guy on 62nd St. Thursday as his sedan started rolling down the Brooklyn block at 11:30 a.m.

He had peeled back the corners of a bunch of decals and stuck them to the felt ceiling of his car, making it easier to grab them and stick them, along with a ticket.

There were one to three cars blocking the sweeper on each block. In less than an hour, he had gone through a couple of dozen stickers.

“They’ll call names at you,” he said of his targets. “I just focus on doing my job. My main concern is get the street clean.”

Puzio said he applies them with an even hand: every illegally parked vehicle, including a Verizon SUV, got one — except those with Department of Transportation placards.

“Even if it was my friend parked, I’d have to give them one, too,” he said.

Puzio, who’s been at Sanitation for 10 years, said he sometimes feel bad about sticking it to drivers — and it shows in his technique.

“I don’t press too hard,” he said. “I try not to leave it on there too much, so basically they can get it off.”

Any mercy he showed was lost on Pedro Batista, who works at P&A Grocery on 58th St. and was five minutes late moving his Chevy Astro.

The Daily News offered Batista, 45, products he could use to remove the sticker and he got to work.

He started with commercial-grade Windex Powerized and scraped with a razor. Then he squirted on some lighter fluid.

Next came Goof Off, which didn’t live up to its billing as “the miracle remover.”

“That one didn’t work at all,” Batista groused before turning to rubbing alcohol.

In the end, he declared the alcohol and the Windex to be most effective at removing most of the green. He tackled stray bits of white paper with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.

“Almost everything is gone,” he said.

It took six minutes and 27 seconds — but Batista noted the chore would have been more onerous if the News hadn’t been there with the supplies.

“If I already got the fine, why should I have to buy this stuff to remove the sticker?” he said of his $35 ticket.

Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield has introduced a bill to outlaw the stickers — custom-printed by the city on “Strip-Tac” paper manufactured by Kimberly Clark.

“Innocent until proven guilty is true for everything except alternate side parking,” Greenfield said.

Sanitation officials said they are looking into easier-to-remove stickers but noted cleanliness ratings have shot up dramatically since the agency launched them in 1998.

Mayor Bloomberg, however, said there is an easier solution for drivers who don’t want to get stuck.

“Don't break the law,” he said. “You won't to have to worry about it.” 

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