DOT Study Measures Lower Manhattan Placard Abuse


A Department of Transportation study released Friday shows just how out of control placard parking is in Manhattan.

The 187-page report [PDF], accompanied by some 223 pages of maps, was undertaken to assess "how placards are used in Lower Manhattan," and to determine if placard users are taking up more space than is allotted for them. The results should come as no surprise.

Key findings include:

  • Curb parking spaces in Lower Manhattan are highly utilized, with 93% of all legal on-street parking spaces in Lower Manhattan occupied during the peak hours (9AM-5PM).
  • Vehicles with agency and law enforcement permits, when combined with marked official vehicles (e.g., police cruisers, DOT bucket trucks), are a large share of the vehicles parked on-street, comprising 43% of vehicle-hours from 9AM-5PM. Law Enforcement placards are the major component of these vehicles (23% of all vehicle-hours). (A vehicle-hour is one vehicle parking for one hour. Thus, a vehicle that parks for three hours uses three vehicle-hours.)
  • Nearly 1 in 8 permitted vehicles were illegally parked at a bus stop, crosswalk, fire hydrant, driveway, or were double-parked.
  • Placards displayed by 9% of all agency and law enforcement permitted vehicles were deemed to be inauthentic or illegitimate in some way.

  • Vehicles with agency and law enforcement permits use more of the parking supply than is allocated to them, occupying 49% more spaces than are allocated to them during the hours of 9AM-5PM.
  • Vehicles with permits take space away from other designated uses such as curb space for commercial vehicles - 22% of loading zone spaces were removed from the commercial supply due to permitted vehicles parking in those spaces.
  • Similarly, 18% of metered spaces were removed from the general public's supply due to permitted vehicles parking in those spaces.
  • Permitted vehicles park for longer periods, on average, than other vehicles, thus consuming disproportionately more space hours. Agency and law enforcement permits park on average for 4.0 hours compared with 2.7 hours for privately owned vehicles.
  • 42% of agency business permits park outside of their dedicated parking supply for more than three hours, which is in violation of their permit.
  • Over the course of a typical day (9AM-5PM) over 3,300 vehicles in Lower Manhattan display an LE permit, resulting in nearly 14,000 vehicle hours. This represents almost one-quarter of the total observed vehicle-hours in Lower Manhattan.
  • The peak demand for agency and law enforcement permits is 5,805 and 13,494 vehicle- hours respectively, while their peak supply is only 7,052 and 5,937 space-hours, respectively. Therefore, while agency permits are technically parking within their allocated supply, vehicles with law enforcement permits use 127% more space hours than are designated for them from 9AM-5PM. This may indicate that the space allotment for law enforcement is not sufficient for its needs during those hours.

Data for the study was collected from September through November of 2006. 

Continuing its coverage of the placard abuse epidemic, the Times has a nice summary of the report, pointing out that the "biggest contributors to the parking crunch were vehicles with law enforcement placards" -- which "are also the most likely to park in an unsafe way."

Among the nearly 700 vehicles with placards that were spotted parked in crosswalks or at hydrants, double-parked or parked in other hazardous ways, more than half belonged to law enforcement.

And check out the guy who pays someone to drive his SUV around all day so he won't get a parking ticket.