After Crotonblog posted the latest in the Just Askin’ series in which we questioned the propriety of the village enforcing parking rules established by the owners of the Van Wyck shopping center, we received a tip from a loyal reader that the village was performing the same service at the privately owned parking lot at Croton Commons. Accordingly, on Saturday morning we decided to bike down to Croton Commons to check out the tip. Sure enough, our informant was correct. Croton’s traffic officer is indeed ticketing the cars of motorists who violate parking rules set by the owners of Croton Commons.
On the way to Croton Commons, Crotonblog passed the nearby strip mall whose nightmarish parking was the subject of an earlier Just Askin’ feature. This time around we found a large, maroon-colored pickup truck straddling the sidewalk. It is even common to find cars and trucks parked on the strip mall’s sidewalk when parking spaces are open—forcing pedestrians into traffic. Later, a large gray pickup truck and a small white SUV blocked the sidewalk although parking spaces were available.
At Croton Commons we questioned Croton’s traffic officer and asked her why she was not ticketing violators of the village law that forbids parking on sidewalks. She responded that tickets she had written in the past for parking on the strip mall’s sidewalk “had been thrown out.”
She added that she no longer tickets parking violations at the strip mall because the owners had not asked the village to do so! If asking is all it takes, Crotonblog has a long list of services it would like the village to perform for us. The first item: It can stop drivers who pull into Crotonblog’s driveway in order to turn around. The village has our permission to do this.
Croton’s traffic control officer earns $44,034 a year plus generous benefits. Even if only half of her time is spent writing tickets for violations of parking rules established by private owners, this represents a rather large chunk of taxpayer monies diverted to supplying police service to shopping malls. Other communities, perhaps more interested in keeping taxes low, do not provide services that merchants should more properly pay.
Crotonblog has been electronically publishing the feature titled Just Askin’ for several weeks, but the conditions it has been reporting have gone unacknowledged and unanswered by village officials. From now on, in addition to posting this feature, Crotonblog will start e-mailing the text to Croton’s mayor and to each of its trustees. If that doesn’t bring these important matters to their attention, our next step may be to resort to mailing certified letters to each of them. Still askin’.