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(Crain’s) — Last week, three City Council members introduced a bill to allow drivers to pull up beside a parked car to drop off or pick up passengers, or to wait behind a driver vacating a parking space. It turns out that these practices, as common as breathing, are illegal. Overzealous traffic agents are writing $115 summonses for them.

New Yorkers have long complained of aggressive enforcement. City fine revenue is up 5% this year and 17% over 2006 levels, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has budgeted another increase for fiscal 2011. Beyond the numbers, there’s a “gotcha” mentality among city enforcement agents that is all too familiar, especially to operators of small businesses. Despite recurring rhetoric from politicians that small businesses are the lifeblood of local communities, merchants still believe that the city is out to get them.

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