Donut Emergency: Cop Parked in Crosswalk and Bike Lane

This photo comes from a recent entry on MyBikeLane.com. Jessica writes:

Coming home this evening from work on my bike, i saw 2 officers pull up to the curb, successfully parking in a crosswalk AND bike lane. I stopped and asked "Officer… do you really need to park in the crosswalk AND bike lane?" To which he replied, "to order food- yes."

After taking a few pictures, i went into the diner and asked, "Officer- is this the example you want to set for the citizens of New York? You know you put my life in danger when you park in a bike lane."

They continued to ignore me.

*Please note all the available parking

  • If only the back left tire was up on the sidewalk they would have the rare trifecta – sidewalk, crosswalk and bike lane.

  • To Jessica –

    Three places you really should send this photo and your story:

    1. Your city councilperson’s office
    2. Your community board’s traffic committee
    3. Your precinct community council and/or precinct public affairs

    Will anything change? You never know. I bet someone will have some questions to answer, and every time you raise an issue in such a rational manner, it lets all involved know that they are being watched.

  • Hannah

    On the Lights in the Heights Ride this past Sunday, we encountered a similar situation in a bike lane on a two-way street on the way to Bay Ridge. The ride leader stopped and asked the cop very politely if he needed to be parked in that exact location, and he replied that he was investigating a recent crime. The ride leader asked him to please move just a little, and he said that he couldn’t, but then he noticed the group of nearly 100 cyclists approaching the intersection and saw fit to move the car a couple feet. We cheered.

    Hannah

  • Media Boy

    Hannah’s post reminds me how when responding to a crime scene “Naked Gun’s” Leslie Nielsen would just fly on to the sidewalk and knock over garbage cans with his car – then just leave the car diagonally half on the sidewalk, half off.

  • I think Leslie Nielsen was taking off on Kojak with that.

    Whenever my friend John finds a parking spot in front of the building he’s going into he calls it a “Kojak.” A Kojak is the most ideal parking spot you can get. Kojak, a New York City detective, of course, always used to manage to have an open parking spot in front of the building that he was running into. No matter what. It was the most unrealistic part of what was supposed to be a kind of gritty and realistic TV show in its time.

  • Following up on Ian’s post – this looks like Dean & Underhill in Prospect Heights, which puts it in the 77th precinct. It’s part of Community Board 8. The City Council Rep is good old Tish James.

  • Thanks for filling in the blanks, Neil!

  • ddartley

    I applaud everyone’s vigilance, but I can’t help being sarcastic–don’t be offended:

    What, this is news?

    I used to dream of a “massive publicity campaign” in which motorists are told, “if you must double park near a bike lane, just stay in the car lane.” There is a lengthy explanation that goes with that, that respectfully explains all the reasons, and acknowledges that double parking is a necessary evil sometimes, but I’m so tired of being frustrated by 24/7, 365, Bronx-to-Battery bike lane abuse that I don’t even try anymore. I used to write letters to City agencies, notes to drivers; I used to smilingly approach drivers (many of them cops). I did it for a long time. I have given up. I still get angry when I see it happening, but this kind of bike lane will never be respected. Sure, maybe I should “never say never,” but I kind of believe it.

    This kind of bike lane is a big red herring for cycling advocacy. It’s a sand trap. A mirage in the desert. Avoid it. Chase newer, different goals.

  • I dunno. I like to avoid riding my bike in a bike lane that’s flanked on each side by a parked car. There’s twice the chance for dooring there, or that someone will run into you with a dolly, etc. And there’s nowhere to escape to if someone or something blocks the bike lane while you’re in between 2 cars (and/or trucks).

    So if I see a car double-parked like that, I almost always go out further “into traffic” to avoid the whole mess. So I’d just as soon have them double park in the bike lane, so I don’t need to swerve out as far.

    (What I’d really like to see is the police closing any street that they’re not able to control the double-parking on; we’re all entitled to an unrealistic fantasy or 2, right?)

  • ddartley

    You’ve definitely got a point, steveo. It’s one of the many reasons I think the side of the road is a dumb place for a bike lane. Please do not flame that comment, friends; I will explain it soon.

  • This is news I think, but maybe not due to the bike lane violation. It is news because it shows just how far gone some of our public officials are. The NYPD has a stated job. That job does not put them above the law they are meant to be enforcing. The attitude shown by the officers in this post show can manifest itself in many ways.

    In the end though, the NYPD, who’s purpose and job is to protect and to serve the community, is *intentionally* putting that community at risk (they are blocking a crosswalk AND a bike lane thereby putting pedestrians and cyclists at risk), and at the same time, thinking it is funny that they are doing so. Despite what these officers think, they are *not* above the law. Nor are other city employees who think they have the right to park on sidewalks or in front of fire hydrants.

    MyBikelane.com is NOT about bike lane design. I leave others to fight that fight. It is about getting the city to show some respect (or in this case maturity) for the safety of its citizens by getting them to enforce the laws that they created.

  • Steve

    As I have explained in many other comments, bicycle lanes are crucial to increasing bicycling, and particularly bicycling among minors and seniors. Those bicyclists that don’t like lanes should not use them–in most cases NYC law allows this–but should not attack the installation of bike lanes. Bicyclists are by far the minority of traffic users and have limited means and opportunities to enforce their right to the road. Face-to-face engagement between motorists and bicyclists is a crucial means available to bicyclists that should not be ignored; rather, it should be at the core of the “Streets Renaissance” agenda. I understand ddartley’s discouragement but he should draw succor from me and other commenters on Streetsblog and MyBikeLane and get back out there. If a “critical mass” of bicyclists began asserting their rights consistently, I think it would make a difference. Instead of the isolated efforts that each of us may have made in the past, we now have the infrastructure (these websites) that allow concerted action.

  • ddartley

    When I used to ride more assertively, I rejected the idea of a need for a (lower case) critical mass of cyclists.

    I took up a whole car lane, and so I was my own critical mass. I didn’t need others to feel safe, or to build a critical mass around me. Drivers honked a little, but not as much as you might think–because while they could certainly accelerate faster, I could certainly *travel* as fast as or faster than they, so I was rarely in their way.

    I still encourage everyone to try riding like that. Once you get over the fear of asserting your right to space, you then feel very safe, because you know you’re VISIBLE.

    The reason I complain about current bike lanes is that I think they perpetuate a notion that cyclists should not be allowed to ride the way I describe above. In fact, in most scenarios in NYC I’m familiar with, they almost always ARE allowed to ride like that.

    I know, it’s nothing that hasn’t been discussed already…. I’m just in an angry (and rambling) mood today!

    I think the root of most of these problems is that speed limits are too darn high. 30mph is too high for city streets, because, if I remember my High School driver ed correctly, 30 mph is the speed at which people—pedestrians AND motorists—start DYING!

  • james

    i agree with ddartley about bike lanes. while greg is certainly correct when he says that nice, usable, and obstruction-free bike lanes are excellent means of encouraging more riders on the streets, to nit-pick about the occasional (or the frequent, even) double-parking unloading trucks and scofflaw donut-hunting cops is pretty silly. i don’t think there’s a web forum where city drivers complain about every stray orange safety cone denying the “right” to an obstruction-free motorway. you pass the obstacles you can … you wait for those you can’t. it’s just part of life. it so happens that one of the advantages of biking in the city is i think the ability to overcome more of these hurdles than cars. tight squeezes around garbage trucks, for instance. or red lights, say. the fact that most cops, i think, in most situations, wouldn’t even think of issuing a traffic citation to a bicyclist who ran a red, safely, even if it were done right in front of his or her nose, makes me think we should return the favor and cut a break for this poor hungry donut cop. my advice: check for cars over your right shoulder (even yield a bit if your life depends on it) and go around. i find the accusation that mr. donut cop “put[s your] life in danger when [he] park[s] in a bike lane” pretty laughable … i actually feel safer riding on any street at any moment when a cop car is visible (save for manhattan last friday of every month) because i think drivers are less likely to run reds or dangerously speed past me.

  • Steve

    james, maybe you’ve heard me say this here before, but you’d be singing a different tune if you were bicycling with your kids.

  • James, I don’t disagree that we should pass the obstacles we can. And in fact, that is just what I do in all of these cases, because most of the time, their is not much I can do to clear the obstacle other than ask that the driver move. I also don’t think much about it when a line of cars moves into the bike lane to get around an obstacle in the car lane, because, as you say, this is a part of life. However, comparing someone idling in their car on a cellphone (http://nyc.mybikelane.com/post/index/200), or parked to get a bite to eat (http://nyc.mybikelane.com/post/index/202), is not the same as an orange cone.

    Let me ask you this. How do you think motorists or the police would react if these bike lane parkers decided they could just park their car smack dab in the middle of a one lane street? Do you think the NYPD would react the same as they do for a bike lane parker (http://nyc.mybikelane.com/?tag=nypd)? Do you think the cars behind the parked car would just find a way to move around the obstacle. I suspect the behavior would be different.

    The vast majority of people parking in the bike lane are not doing so because they have to. They are doing so because they can get away with it. They are doing so because it is just more free parking in the city.

  • This picture reminds me of this situation. Cops parked this massive truck in the bike lane when there was a perfectly legal spot available. They were seen eating donuts at a donut shop in front of their “parking space”.

  • galvoguy

    the new police commissioner in Yonkers jacked up the operators of a patrol car double parked while the cops went in for a cup of coffee.
    that picture needs to get to the right people, i would suggest start with the mayor, he will send it down hill, make sure to include the note about how they were asked nicely to move the patrol car. These guys belong on foot patrol.

  • cops do this all the time, every day, all day.

    i took matters in my own hands and spit a nice huge loogie onto a windshield of one of these lazy selfish cops.
    sure, i got a summons for spitting in public (which was dropped) – but it was worth it.

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