Do Unto Others? Church Parking Placards Put Cyclists in Harm’s Way

We posted the link in today's headlines, but you really need the visuals that go with this story of bike-lane blocking, curb-mounting Sunday motorists, and the police who sanction them. Via Gothamist, the video comes courtesy of Ink Lake blogger Peter Kaufman, a Brooklyn Heights resident who noticed that all the cars illegally parked on Henry Street during Sunday services at First Presbyterian sport postcards on the dash. They say "Church Business," and the 84th Precinct honors them as if they were etched on stone tablets.

John del Signore at Gothamist got some officers at the 84th to explain the compact between police and the church:

Officer Brandon Bunting fielded our call and admitted that "it's a sensitive issue. I live in Harlem, and sometimes people park three cars wide there. But you're not allowed to block the bike lane, placard or no placard; if some kid is riding his bike there and has to go out in traffic, it could be bad. At the same time, it's a sensitive community issue and we try to work out a compromise." Another officer said, "For years we have allowed people to park in front of the church while they worship."

These wink-and-a-nod agreements are hardly exceptional. Last year, Uncivil Servants shined a light on an Upper East Side synagogue, the Park East, that fashioned bogus parking placards for its employees, all with the tacit approval of the local precinct.

As Streetsbloggers suggested this morning, think of what a blessing it would be if our local houses of worship tried to welcome their flocks in a way that doesn't maximize driving and endanger other people using the street.