According to the New York Times, officials are considering higher fines for people who do it, calling it "street defacement." The fine now stands at $50, but could jump to $250.
Parking in the Big Apple is already big business, says lawyer Larry Berezin. He runs the website NewYorkParkingTicket.com, which is dedicated to defending parking violators.
"Parking in New York City generates about $600 million in revenue and there's about nine million parking tickets issued a year," Berezin says.
Tickets are overseen by the Department of Finance, so New York has an incentive to keep that revenue flowing. As Berezin puts it, it's not about justice.
However, there are ways to effectively contest one of NYC's 99 parking violations.
"The mistake many New Yorkers make is that they fight it emotionally," Berezin says.
For example, hollering, "How dare you issue me a ticket?! I was just dropping my Aunt Tilly. She's 94 years old, and I got out of my car and walked across the street."
You can stop temporarily and let Aunt Tilly out at the curb, Berezin says, but you can't walk her across the street. "She's on her own. She lives in New York City... she's okay."
For a guide to deciphering New York City's complex parking signs, see the presentation here.
We asked you on Twitter what your parking and driving pet peeves were, and boy were you vocal. Add your own by commenting below or tweeting us @MarketplaceAPM.
[View the story "What are your driving and parking pet peeves?" on Storify]
Jokes were not on funny guy Ray Magliozzi's mind Thursday when he talked with WBUR. Instead, the Car Talk co-host wanted to focus on the acts of bravery and selflessness at the scene of Monday's bombings.
Dog owners have similar germs growing on their skin: a signature blend of bacteria from canines' tongues and paws. Scientists couldn't find an analogous signature for cat owners. Perhaps cats are just being selfish.
Investigators have said the key clue is likely to come from photos or video taken by the public, and social media sites are buzzing with theories about possible suspects. But with so many images out there, it's like trying to find the one slightly off-white pingpong ball buried under 10,000 white pingpong balls.
The study looked at about 10,000 British children born at the turn of this century and found no developmental problems among those whose mothers drank moderately during pregnancy. But even the study's authors caution that abstaining from alcohol is still best for mothers-to-be.
What if you could get a degree from a college with no classes, no instructors and no grades? It sounds like an ad on late-night TV. But this week, the online College for America got a big boost from the federal government. Its students will be able to receive federal student aid.
“What that really means, is that for the first time federal financial aid dollars will support actual learning as opposed to how long somebody sat at a desk,” says Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, the nonprofit school that created College for America.
Instead of racking up a certain number of credit hours for an associate degree, students at College for America have to master 120 “competencies,” from quantitative reasoning to writing and communication.
If you’re good at math, you might fly through that assessment, LeBlanc says. If not, you could take one of the many free online courses offered by other schools. The program costs $2,500 a year.
“It’s conceivable that someone could earn their Associate's degree in under six months and for $1,250,” LeBlanc says.
Right now the online program is only available to people who work at certain companies. One of them is Globe Manufacturing, in Pittsfield, N.H. It makes firefighter suits.
Competency-based degrees will not only help his workers get ahead, says owner Rob Freese. They’ll also help him assess their skills.
“It’s like getting merit badges that sort of prove competency in various subject areas,” Freese says.
Though it’s the first to gain eligibility for federal aid without using the traditional credit hour, College for America isn’t the only program experimenting with competency-based learning. It took inspiration from Western Governors University, which was founded in 1997. The University of Wisconsin plans to launch self-paced, competency-based degree programs this fall.
“Given what college costs right now, finding ways to shorten the amount of time that it takes to earn a degree is a priority,” says Sara Goldrick-Rab, associate professor of educational policy studies at UW-Madison. “However, I will say this: I think the higher priority ought to be on lowering what college costs, so that you don’t have to rush through it.”
The skills you pick up in the process of learning, she says, are important to employers, too.
Have you checked your cell phone bill lately? I mean like line-by-line, page by page? If you do, you may find a few charges that you didn’t authorize. It’s a practice called “bill cramming” and while it used to be a big problem on landlines, it has been on the rise on mobile phone bills.
This week the Federal Trade Commision cracked down on the practice for the first time, says Malini Mithal, the assistant director in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Division of Financial Practices. She said the defendants in the case were “offering dating tips and horoscopes and other types of services via text messages,” then adding the charges to the users' cell phone bills.
Mithel said many of the consumers who complained to the FTC had deleted the messages or responded texted "Stop" and they were charged anyway. Sometimes as much as $9.99 a month.
"It’s a consumer fraud," she said.
Expect more of these scams, says John Breyault, with the National Consumers League in Washington, D.C.
“The mobile platform is more vulnerable to fraud because it’s a platform that’s becoming a more acceptable form of payment,” Breyault said.
In the 1990s, when phone cramming hit landlines, Breyault says phone companies eventually agreed not to allow third-party charges. But, he says, that’s not really an option today because people like buying legitimate services and charging them to their cell phone bills.
Ruth Susswein is with the Consumer Federation of America. She says consumers need to guard their information.
“You don’t want to give your cell phone out just to anyone,” she says.
Susswein said the main issue is that paying with your cell phone is largely unregulated. And many consumers say cell phone carriers are slow to refund — or just don’t refund — unauthorized charges.
Her suggestion: pay with a credit card because the law offers them more protections.
The explosion on Wednesday at a fertilizer plant in the tiny city of West, Texas, has sparked conversation in heartland American towns that have their own fertilizer plants -- or hope to soon.
“I’m reviewing my legislation,” said Illinois Rep. Adam Brown, who has been working to attract the Chronus Chemical company to the town of Tuscola in Central Illinois. Brown, who said Illinois is "in competition" with neighboring Iowa for the plant, said the benefits are clear. He expects the plant would bring $1.2 billion in investment money to the area and create 2,000 union jobs.
But after the explosion in West, he wants more information. “We want to ensure not only that we have huge job creation here in Central Illinois, but that also our workers and our community is projected,” Brown said.
Chronus Chemical says what happened in West, simply couldn’t happen with their planned facility.
“We do not produce, use, or store ammonium nitrate in the Chronus facility,” said Dave Lundy, a spokesman for Chronus. “What Chronus will be producing is urea and urea is not combustible. It’s generally viewed as inflammable.”
Across the state line, in the small town of Wever, Iowa, Kristen Brookhiser, a mother of three, said her heart sank when she heard the news from West, Texas.
“I am concerned about explosions, leaks in the air, how soon would we be able to be notified and would be have enough time to evacuate if we needed to be,” Brookhiser said.
Wever broke ground on a fertilizer plant last fall. Brookhiser said she supports job creation, but objects to the how close the plant is to residential areas.
Police say former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf sped away from a court ito avoid arrest after his bail was revoked. Policemen were deployed at the court building in Islamabad on Thursday, but Musharraf's security team rushed him out and put him in a black SUV before they could detain him.
"Small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build" do not understand Americans, the president said at an interfaith service in Boston. The event was both to remember the victims of Monday's marathon bombings and to praise the bravery and spirit of those who rushed to help the injured.