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Is Niagara Falls PD walking a thin line with spectators over parking tickets?

On June 15, history will be made as tightrope walker Nik Wallenda will attempt to cross Niagara Falls from the U.S. side to the Canadian side. In fact, the excitement over the event is growing to such an extent that people are lining up just to watch Wallenda practice in the parking lot of a casino in Niagara Falls, New York. Unfortunately for them, local police are also on the scene handing out traffic violations to those who are failing to comply with the city's parking ordinances.

According to reports, the Niagara Falls Police Department issued at least a dozen parking tickets last weekend to curious onlookers who made the trip to Seneca Niagara Casino to watch Wallenda rehearse on a practice tightrope designed to mimic the treacherous conditions he will face while attempting to cross the falls.

The crackdown on parking has left many onlookers understandably upset.

"Instead of trying to capitalize on people trying to see this once in a lifetime event, in Niagara Falls, on the U.S. side, which is obviously depressed, they should be very happy people are here and treat them with respect so people want to come back and spend money with the local merchants," said one angry observer who traveled from Buffalo to see the spectacle.

In fact, Wallenda himself expressed some level of disgust over the ticketing patterns of the Niagara Falls PD.

"It is upsetting to me that people are coming from all over the place to see me rehearse and they've been getting tickets on the road as they're watching me," he said. That is upsetting to me."

According to Captain John DeMarco, however, his officers are only doing their duty issuing the $25 traffic citations.

"We have an obligation to the city to enforce the parking regulations down there. There are some things we can overlook and there are some things we can't and won't overlook," he said.

DeMarco also indicated that his department is working overtime to ensure that Wallenda's walk on June 15 -- which is expected to draw up to 50,000 people -- goes smoothly in terms of both safety and parking.

Stay tuned for more from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


WIVB-4, "Parking tickets draw Wallenda's ire," Ed Drantch, May 15, 2012

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