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Stats Government The Almighty Buck

How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets 286

jfruh (300774) writes "Ben Wellington is a New Yorker and city planner with an interest in NYC Open Data, the city's online open government initiative. One thing he noticed in this vast dataset was that just two fire hydrants in the city generated tens of thousands of dollars a year in tickets. The sleuthing by which he figured out why is a great example of how open government data can help citizens in concrete ways."
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How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

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  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @11:08AM (#47164391) Homepage
    There was a fire hydrant on the sidewalk, with a bike lane between it and drawn parking spaces. In US cities you can only park where there is a parking space explicitly drawn, so this spot had exactly what you were looking for and people parked. And got ticketed. And this happened all the time, since it looked like a perfectly fine parking spot, but the NYPD disagreed. Apparently no-one had complained loud enough (I'd think such tickets would be very easily contested), but when this guy blogged about it after seeing the data and it went viral, the DOT fixed it relatively quickly by marking it as a no-parking space.
  • by itsenrique ( 846636 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @11:09AM (#47164405)
    Having been in traffic court a few too many times, let me tell you: fighting tickets is NOT what the judge is looking for. For this type of small time high volume casework they HEAVILY steer you toward making a plea and not stating your case to save time. They are usually not willing to hear people out and more punitive if you claim not guilty vs going the no contest route (what they want). I'm talking mostly about speeders, I've never been to court for a parking ticket, but I believe it may be the same court.
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @01:00PM (#47165433) Homepage
    Snow. The design you talk about works well if there is no snow on the ground. But you can't find underground hydrants if there is snow covering them. But the US has a lot more snow in a lot more urban centers. As such, we standardized on a design that works well whether it is in the snowy north or the hot south.
  • by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @01:37PM (#47165837)
    No, they didn't respond to "a citizen", they responded to lots of publicity.
  • by AF_Cheddar_Head ( 1186601 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @03:25PM (#47166687)

    Ex-Firefighter here. Part of the problem is having working room at the pumper panel for the driver. You need space at the hydrant to connect the couplings and also working room at the pump panel for the driver to connect and run the pumps. All this depends on how you lay the hoses out but yeah working room at the hydrant for both hydrant hook up and the pumper is necessary.

    FYI you can have multiple types of pumper setups:
    - Reverse lay (Pumper is closer to the hydrant)
    - Straight-in lay (Pumper is closer to the fire scene)
    - Relay (Multiple pumpers, one at the hydrant and one at the scene)

    And many variations.

    I have never done it myself but witnessed the infamous smash the windows and put the hose through the car once.

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