Crosby Street, Soho: A veritable government employee parking lot. (Photo: UncivilServants.org)
As reported last week on NYPD Rant, the City Hall crackdown on government employee parking placards has arrived. Acknowledging the dissonance between his congestion mitigation efforts and City employees’ flagrant parking abuse, Mayor Bloomberg today announced a reduction in the number of city government parking permits and new, more centralized procedures for the issuance of placards. From the press release:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that the City of New York, as part its efforts to reduce traffic congestion, decrease the City’s carbon footprint, encourage the use of public transportation, and reduce the demand for curbside parking in connection with City business, is implementing a comprehensive program to reduce the number and misuse of government parking placards. First, every City agency will reduce its number of parking placards by at least 20 percent. Second, the issuance of parking placards will be centralized and only the Police Department and the Department of Transportation will have the authority to issue them. Third, the NYPD will create a new enforcement unit to ensure compliance and agencies will develop enforcement procedures to prevent the abuse of placards. A multi-agency working group will implement and coordinate the various measures being taken and take additional actions, including a review of existing agency parking-space allocations and on-street parking regulations.
While this is a major step forward, the fact the NYPD is still in the placard printing business raises an eyebrow. The big question though is whether the police union (or PBA) is also going to be in the placard printing business. For a sense of what City Hall is up against in this initiative, again, we turn to our good friends over at NYPD Rant:
if the city yanks our plaques, then the war is on. the pba can have some printed for its members, active and retired, and i will bang out every car with official plates that is illegally parked or runs a light (the offenders can explain themselves in front of an administrative judge at AAB or parking violations bureau)….JUST WAIT AND SEE
Here’s the rest of the City’s press release:
"Parking placards are a necessary tool for conducting City business, but we have no tolerance for their abuse, which contributes to congestion," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We will give out placards only to those who need to use them to further the public interest. City workers have often led by example, and our efforts to reduce traffic congestion will be no different."
"In addition to the reduction in official placards, vehicles displaying look-alike or counterfeit placards will be issued summonses and their owners will be subject to further prosecution," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
"A reduction in placards isn’t just about opening up curbside parking spaces," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "It also speaks to the City’s efforts to be smarter about the allocation of our transportation resources, and to a transportation policy that aims for a greener, greater and less congested New York."
The multi-agency working group on placard use has asked each City agency to create an inventory of all parking placards for use as a benchmark for the 20 percent reduction. On March 1st the reduced number of permits will be issued by either the NYPD or DOT, and from that date forward only those two agencies will issue placards. The NYPD will issue placards for its use and for law enforcement agencies it currently issues permits to and the DOT will issue all other placards for every other City agency. The working group will develop a process for agencies to demonstrate a need for additional placards, which will be reviewed on an agency-by-agency basis. In connection with the reduction in placards issued, agencies will implement measures to prevent parking-placard misuse by agency personnel.
The working group will also conduct a review of existing parking-space allocations and on-street parking regulations throughout the City. The group will work with agencies to develop strategies to ensure compliance with parking and placard regulations, including time limits in no parking, truck loading, and metered zones, to increase the use of technology such as in-vehicle smart placards and create greater reliance on public transportation. The group will also develop reporting metrics to assess the effectiveness of agency compliance and enforcement. The group, chaired by Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler, consists of representatives from the NYPD, DOT, Finance Department and the Mayor’s Office of Operations.