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Posts from the "Uncivil Servants" Category

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This Just In: NYPD Biggest Abusers of Placard Perk

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The Post is reporting today that a sweep against illegally parked placard-bearing vehicles has resulted in over 2,400 summonses, almost half of them issued to NYPD employees.

Over the last three months, special teams of Internal Affairs officers have scoured congested streets in lower Manhattan and around government hubs in outer boroughs, searching for vehicles whose drivers abuse their parking-placard perks and slapping tickets on 2,488 cars.

Topping the list of offenders were New York's Finest, hit with 1,053 summonses for leaving their cars in crosswalks, near hydrants or bus stops or in "no standing" zones, mostly around courthouses and station houses.

Federal agents and other US government personnel were the second-worst abusers, with 282 tickets - most carrying a $115 fine.

Courthouse officers and employees received 275 summonses.

Since April 1, the IAB has reportedly issued summonses to 3,530 illegally parked vehicles, and towed 512. According to the Post, IAB officers have not come across a single fake permit since the first week of the crackdown, when a retired officer was arrested for having one.

No word in the story concerning the police unions' complaint aimed at holding on to as many placards as possible.

Graphic: New York Post

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Squad Cars Clear Out of Dekalb Bike Lane

A tipster sends photographic evidence that the NYPD does, at times, show cyclists some courtesy. Last week, a post on Clinton Hill Blog drew attention to parked squad cars at the 88th Precinct jutting out into the bike lane on Brooklyn's Dekalb Avenue. Streetsblog and Gothamist picked up the photo, and now those cars are parallel parked, out of cyclists' right-of-way. Hopefully for good.

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Eyes on the Street: Dekalb Bike Lane Used for NYPD Parking

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From Clinton Hill Blog via Gothamist:

Since I’ve been biking a lot lately, I’ve come to realize how wonderful bike lanes actually are.  I’m pleased to say that we now have a bike lane on both Myrtle AND DeKalb!  However, I have noticed that the DeKalb bike lane seems to be contributing to the bottle necking that happens around Classon Ave, causing a backup.

It’s not actually the bike lane that’s causing this.

The cause is the police parking. Cop cars cut off an entire lane just west of Classon on DeKalb, and now that practice has become even more dangerous.

This intersection has already become a traffic nightmare, and now cyclists have to divert out into traffic that’s already dangerous. Surely there must be a better way to arrange this. With a huge increase in neighborhood traffic (especially on Sundays with the Flea), this isn’t cool.

Speaking of bike lanes, WE NEED ONE ON LAFAYETTE AVENUE!!! ASAP!!!

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Has Time Run Out on the Parking Placard “Crackdown”?


Chinatown, December 2007: As good as it gets?



Early this year, Mayor Bloomberg's office announced across-the-board reductions in the number of government-issued parking placards that could be allotted to city employees. And while the city looks to be following through with the cuts -- to the chagrin of some among the entitled motoring class -- WNYC reports that Lower Manhattan is still flooded with illegally parked vehicles.

Despite new standardized placard designs and a highly publicized sweep against scofflaws in April, a recent tour of Chinatown by reporter Matthew Schuerman and Transportation Alternatives' Wiley Norvell found scores of cars sporting slapdash pseudo-permits, and very few of them bearing tickets. Norvell says that enforcement is still lax, but a spokesperson from the mayor's office told Schuerman that NYPD is doing a "very good job."

Did the Bloomberg "crackdown" on free parking for government employees expire with congestion pricing? 

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25,000 Fewer (Official) Parking Placards for City Employees

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It took a little longer than expected, but the City is significantly shrinking the pool of parking placards available to public employees. The total number of placards allocated to certain departments -- most notably NYPD -- has been reduced from roughly 80,000 to about 55,000, as reported by the Times, News, and Post this morning. The police will have 21,474 fewer placards to distribute, a 33 percent reduction.

Placards have also been redesigned to prevent fraud and abuse, said Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler. The News reports:

New standardized placards are designed to eliminate the dizzying patchwork of permits previously created by each agency that often stumped ticket writers.

"They were being respected by the people who were doing traffic enforcement because they looked legit," Skyler said. "If you have an old police one, you might as well have a Time magazine on the dashboard. It's not going to be effective."

Read more...
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Demo Today Against Park-Hogging Judges

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If you have some time to spare early this afternoon and are in the vicinity of Columbus Park in Downtown Brooklyn, Transportation Alternatives will be holding a demonstration at 1:00. It seems some judges who have been using this public space as a parking lot may take legal action to retain access for their personal vehicles.

T.A. has the scoop:

In Brooklyn's Columbus Park, judges park both in a parking lot and on a pedestrian plaza in the park. This has been going on for years, despite the city (with taxpayer money) building the judges their own parking lot in 1999. To restore the pedestrian plaza back to park users, the city is removing a curb cut that the judges use and constructing another to link them directly to their parking lot. In response, the judges are actually threatening to sue the city. Given their long record of abuse, we think it's time to get the judges out of Columbus Park altogether and return it to use as a public space.

Every person counts, so please come join us!

Participants will meet at the corner of Joralemon Street and Boerum Place.

Photo: The Brooklyn Paper

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DOT Study Measures Lower Manhattan Placard Abuse

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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.
Read more...
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Eyes on the Street: Taking the Lane

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From a Streetsblog tipster comes this shot of five of the city's 142,000 placard-bearing vehicles parked in the bike lane on Lafayette Street between Franklin and White.

What was especially damning is that in the real parking spaces, to the left of these double-parkers, there were about three vacant legitimate spots.

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Fidler on the Sidewalk

Streetsblog commenter and Brooklyn Councilmember Lew Fidler adds a tenth plank to his 9 CARAT STONE transportation plan: Sidewalk parking! In today’s Daily News:

Brooklyn Diary

Where in the world can an elected official park these days without earning the wrath of his fellow Brooklynites?

A silver Infiniti belonging to Councilman Lew Fidler — a vocal congestion pricing critic — was spotted last Thursday parked
on a pedestrian plaza near Borough Hall that has become something of a
go-to spot for law-bending city employees.

But it wasn’t the only time last week the unlucky Canarsie
politician stumbled into a parking problem. Just a day earlier, Fidler
was slipped an angry note on his windshield after parking directly
above a nearby subway grate.

"I did it," said a flustered Fidler after our spies caught the pol.
"I’m not going to apologize for it. I thought it would be better than
parking on the subway grate."

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God Said, “Let There Be Parking Placards.” And It Was So.

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Only three days remain until 20 percent of government parking placards must be surrendered, but as Gridlock Sam wrote here last month, that should be just the beginning of placard reform. Case in point: Uncivil Servants featured a story last week of an Upper East Side synagogue that manufactures its own bogus placards while the 19th Precinct turns a blind eye and infamous Community Board 8 lends a hand. Uncivil Servants reports that employees of the Park East Synagogue on East 68th Street have been getting away with the printing of homemade placards since the attacks of September 11, 2001:

The original baloney excuse for their parking was terrorism following 911 but the truth is they have used the tragedy of 911 as an excuse to get a free parking perk at the expense of the community. The signage by the way is either NO STANDING or NO PARKING 7AM - 7 PM. The location of this abuse is East 68th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues on both the South and North side of the street where typically you will find 8 to 10 of Park East employees' personal vehicles parked all day using bogus xeroxed placards.

Post columnist David Seifman picked up the story on Sunday, writing that the synagogue has agreed to gradually reduce -- but not eliminate -- its use of false permits, in a scheme brokered by Community Board 8:

"After a very lengthy and detailed discussion, [Park East] agreed to the recommendation that they reduce the number of placards to eight by the end of June 2008, then decrease by four by June 2009, and two the following year, until the number of placards in use is reduced to two by June 2010," said the e-mail from Assistant District Manager Latha Thompson.

City Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) told The Post the community board was way out of bounds. "It's unacceptable for individuals to be generating their own parking placards," he said.

Seifman also reports that Park East director Joel Baum offered an alternative explanation for the placards. Baum says they are used by teachers at the synagogue who are following the example set by the city's public school teachers. More proof that once one group claims a special privilege, the circle of entitlement tends to widen.

Photo: Dick Tracy / Uncivil Servants