Eyes on the Street: Converting the Sidewalk to Private Parking in the Bronx

Looking to add some extra off-street parking? No problem. Just pave over the sidewalk and fence it in. The handicapped-accessible pedestrian ramp can be your curb cut. Photo: Google Maps

Looking to park at 3059 Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx? There are plenty of options. The property has a garage, not to mention the free on-street parking. But that wasn’t enough for the owner of this property, who decided to commandeer some of the public sidewalk, pave it over with asphalt, fence it in, and use the handicapped-accessible pedestrian ramp as the curb cut to a personal driveway.

In recent years, there have been a series of complaints and violations registered with the city about the illegal driveway, brought to Streetsblog’s attention by reader Jay Shuffield. In 2006, the Department of Buildings found the the storage of three vehicles at the front of the property to be in violation of parking regulations in a residential district. The property owner — at the time, listed as Maria Aviles-Rodriguez in city records — paid a $480 penalty, but the illegal driveway remained.

In 2008, a complaint was registered with DOB about a fence erected around the illegal driveway, but a violation for work without a permit was dismissed by the Environmental Control Board. Last month, two complaints were registered via 311: A violation was served for illegal parking spaces, and another complaint about an illegal fence was referred to DOT. The agency says it issued a notice of violation.

It seems that paying $480 and putting up with the occasional violation notice from the city is just the cost of doing business when it comes to securing private off-street parking on public space in the Bronx.