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

061208copbikeblock.jpg

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!!!

  • Cop cars parked in the bike lane, so typical (sigh)

  • srockwell

    What is even odder and more frustrating about this spot on the DeKalb lane is that the DOT seems to be accommodating the police cars– the last time I was on the lane (and for the preceding month), there was a gap in the paint job right were the cop cars jut out. The picture here makes it look like that is still the case.

  • ddartley

    In Manhattan, outside at least two precincts which happen to be on streets with Class II lanes–get this, srockwell–the lanes are not striped at all on the block that holds the precinct!

    Check out East 20th St. It’s got a Class II lane. Except between 3rd and 2nd Avenues, where the cops angle park!

    Check it out in person, or on google maps’ street view.

    I suspect that there was probably some cooperation, probably improper, between DOT and the Precinct.

    It’s also the case at at least one other Manhattan precinct; I can’t remember which.

    And, of course, some precincts–or the DOT working with them–paint parking lines RIGHT ONTO THE SIDEWALK! (Pictures coming)

  • Aren’t they suppose to parallel park anyways?

  • Max Rockatansky

    The only solution is dedicated bike lanes, it will keeps cars out and encourage more people to ride. Unfortunately it’s a catch-22, the only way to get more people (non-bikers) riding is if they feel safe on the road (= dedicated lanes). But the only reason that the city will dedicate the resources is if there’s the demand… $4+ gas might help along with poor MTA service, but will it be enough?

  • Unfortunately it normal for police to park in bike lanes. It’s particularly bad at the precinct in Harlem on St. Nick btwn W. 123 & 122 St.
    http://tinyurl.com/4mjhd9

    And if there isn’t a bike lane, the police often park in the middle of the street (not on the curb).

  • JF

    The 88th Precinct community council meets every third Tuesday of every month. Location varies. Meeting time is 7:30 p.m. The precinct Community Affairs Unit should have the location, (718) 636-6526.

  • JF

    My five-year-old was just playing with his toy NYPD car, so I showed him this picture, and he drew a bike lane on a piece of paper to park the car on.

  • Philip

    Cops park where ever they feel like. It’s just the abuse of power. Hey whatever happened to the guy who had a website where he photographed police cars improperly parked. That was a while ago but I know he was being harassed. . . Anybody know?

  • Michael,
    That Harlem precinct truly takes the cake; I particularly like the private cars that are parked along the little triangular traffic island where St Nicholas meets Frederick Douglass. When I first saw that, as a naive new biker in the city (new to biking in New York, not biking per se), I was about to storm into the precinct to ask why they didn’t do anything about the egregious violations right under their noses. Then I had an epiphany and became a lot more cynical.

  • Paul

    Let’s print up come citizen tickets and place them on the cars every time we encounter cops – or anyone really – park in the bike lanes. Noting the precinct and lic # and just fire off complaints to the city with weekly reports.

  • Dart, I’m not sure which is worse, DoT will suspending bike lanes on blocks with precincts or putting them, as on Dekalb, and having them completely ignored. Paul, you should be aware that it is illegal to put fake tickets or other pieces of paper on other people’s cars. Phillip, check out uncivilservants.org.

  • NYC’s finest at their finest.

  • paulb

    We’ll be riding in auto lanes on a lot of these streets, it doesn’t matter what’s been painted on the asphalt. Merge carefully and take the center of the lane, that’s all we can do until separate bike lanes are constructed because where people drive/ride/park is not established by painted lines.

    For example, Vanderbilt is a commercial two-way avenue with businesses on both sides and legal parking at most times along its length. The new design narrows auto traffic and places bike lanes in both directions on the traffic side of parking. Trucks have to deliver to the businesses. Where are they supposed to stop while doing that? At hydrants? In bus stops? In the bike lane, that’s the only place for them.

  • Phil

    You’re right Paulb about where will the trucks stop. Maybe it’s time for a plan from DOT. . .

    The rebuilding of Vanderbilt and narrowing of the traffic hasn’t been as awaful for drivers as many had thought. I drive on Vanderbilt as well as bike but there’s really been no change in the traffic flow that I’ve seen other than
    that it has to go slower. People always double parked along the street anyway.

    But to my point about this comment. If Vanderbilt had been reconstructed with the bike lane along the curb and the parking outside of the bike lane that would have been the smarter thing to do. They do it Budapest.

    In addition my plan for trucks would be to reserve spots as they do for buses and hydrants for certain hours of the day on commercial avenues. Why doesn’t the DOT take that up?

  • Phil, that’s the lesson of the proposed 8th Ave. conversion–once a bike lane is installed, it can be subsequently converted to a cycle track without any loss of parking or motor vehicle lanes. This two-step process for installing cycle tracks divides and vitiates opposition. At the time of initial Class 2 installation, opponents view the Class-2 lane as less threatening and presume it will be unenforceable. At the time of the conversion to Class 1, there is no argument by motorists that anything they had is being lost.

    The only barrier to doing these conversions on narrower, non-buffered lanes such as Vanderbilt’s that I have heard is the inability of DSNY to plow lanes

  • Paul

    It’s illegal to park in the bike lane too.

  • ddartley: the other police precinct on 20th Street is the 10th precinct between 7th and 8th Avenues. Just like the block between 2nd and 3rd Avenues where the 13th precinct is located, the 20th Street class 2 bike lane is downgraded to a class 3 (signed but not striped bike route not lane). This is also the case on the front side of the 13th precinct which is on 21st Street (the precinct apparently goes through the block).

    These downgrades are shown on my copy of the 2008 NYC Cycling Map, so this is official, not just a “wink and nod” between DOT and NYPD.

  • ddartley

    Alex Dupuy, I was thinking my aspersion about “improper” cooperation between DOT and NYPD was maybe a bit severe.

    Still, the policy is bad because no city agency should be encouraging greater car use. Even though this story’s picture features patrol cars, and it’s harder to argue against parking for patrol cars, this angle parking at precincts also accommodates, *improperly, I think,* cops’ private commuting cars, including at these precincts on bike lanes using the Class 2 to Class 3 switch.

  • What this photo doesn’t show is that many of these cars are not just parked in the bike lane, but the back half of them is parked on the sidewalk. So they’re stealing the turf of both pedestrians and bicyclists.

  • do you smell bacon?

    Self righteous rectitude can sometimes obscure the truth. Has anyone considered for a moment that the bike lane was possibly ill conceived and improperly painted? Police vehicles park haphazardly at every precinct in the city that I’ve ever seen; anyone of the mindset that it’ll change with paint on pavement must be living in Copenhagen. I LIKE congestion as a cyclist, it slows traffic. I occasionally LIKE that the police keep everyone guessing for similar reasons. (126th street between Amsterdam and Broadway has angle-in parking by the police and is one of the calmest streets in that area for accessing the Hudson Greenway.) DeKalb is too fast, I almost wish the police would park like that on both sides and create a police vehicle chicane. Fear, doubt and uncertainty are force multipliers that the police know how to use; the bike lane painters might take a lesson from them, or at a minimum properly accommodate their parking technique.

  • Michael1

    Response:

    #3 Jack: Police cars normally park 90° back-first. It allows them to quickly leave a spot when responding to calls. It’s typical to find NYPD cars parked like that around precincts. The idea makes sense,however this conflicts with bike lanes. (ie: 32nd Precinct on W 135. Street, Transit Precinct on St. Nicholas and W. 145 Street and St. Nicholas with Frederick Douglass to name a few)

    #9 Vroomfondel: That precinct is horrible when it comes to cop parking. Since space is so limited they park on the sidewalk. Ok, so no big deal. Well, it is when I can’t even walk through. I think possibly new signage should be implimented in order to allow these cars to parallel park because if you noticed, they aren’t squad cars but the private ones of the officers. I think only squad cars should be the only ones to park 90° since they are the cars that respond to calls.

  • Char

    About three weeks ago I happened upon a serial bike-thief in front of the Barnes & Noble Textbook Store on 5th Ave @ 18th Street in the Union Square area. I showed two police officers who were nearby in a cruiser. They tried to catch him, bt were unsuccessful at the time, hope they’ve gotten him since. What I learned was that this guy had stolen another bike near Paragon Sports (18th Street @ Broadway) a few minutes before.

    Apparently these thiefs sell stolen bikes to restaurants whose delivery employees use them to bring everyone their pizzas, Chinese food, etc…

    See the video I took in the link below.

  • the juiceee

    i agree, with the last poster..is parking really such an issue..the city gives them no lot to park in so why blame the police..ever think of complaining to the mayor..i dont want the police circling around looking for spots while im being robbed, or taking up all the regular spots in the area now considering they work long hours..you also put there safety in danger forcing them to stray farther away from the command before and after work walking to their cars, when people who they areested live and hangout in areas around the command..your all thick headed and care about ur fukin bikes and the bike lane..its one block that u have to deal with..get a lifee seriously, instead of appreciating the people who serve ur community doing a job none of us want or signed up for you complain about where they park..last i checked the guy on the bike wasnt showin up when i got robbed last year, nor did anyone help..they may have called the policee but people just watched..these people are risking their lives for their community, there payy suckss so in the least let them park in peace, im sorry but all you people who complain know dam well noone on the street is going to help you..they are the only ones coming, so for us people who need protection and help, ride ur bike down a diff block if it bothers you soo bad..dont make bad relations with the cops that patrol our streets and watch our children, the last thing we need is pissed off officers driving around saying u know what” fukk these people, they want to givee me a hard time, ill make sure i rush over to that call for help..maybe ill get there and look for a parking spot, while someone gets their ass kicked inside the house, just soo the bike lane isnt blocked cuzzz god forbidd u have to stop pedadlling for a minute…

  • WindyGH
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  • Matt

    It’s insane to realize that they’ve been doing this for SEVEN YEARS and nothing has been done. The fucking arrogance.

  • neroden

    Eventually, you may have to start arresting them. That’ll require a lot of planning, because an armed gang with a lot of guns and a hideout is hard to arrest.

    And it’ll require a lawyer to work out the exact details, but the refusal of the police to arrest each other for this criminal activity qualifies as obstruction of justice. I think you have to go in to the precinct in person, report each illegally parked car, film the report, film them refusing to accept the reports. At that point any citizen witnessing this is authorized to arrest them and take them to the Tombs (but you’ll have to have an armed posse to do it, because they’re a dangerous armed gang).

    I’d try the routes of DA election and grand jury investigation first.

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