Wednesday: Public Meeting With NYPD About Upper Manhattan Lawless Driving

Tomorrow night, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will join the Community Board 12 Public Safety Committee and NYPD officials for a public meeting on out-of-control drivers in Inwood and Washington Heights.

Motorcycles_019.jpgMotorcycles confiscated by the 34th Precinct in Upper Manhattan. Photo: Manhattan Times

Reckless driving isn’t new or unique to Upper Manhattan, of course, but during warm weather months motorcycle riders — most believed to hail from elsewhere — swarm the streets, racing from the northern tip of the island, near Inwood Hill Park, down to the Heights. The area is also popular with "boom car" drivers, who menace residential blocks at all hours, keeping CB 12 at or near the top of the list in 311 noise complaints.

This year has been especially bad already, and with the dangerous and noisy recreational traffic has come an uptick in criminal activity. Crime levels remain relatively low in the 34th Precinct, but robberies are up. Inwood in particular has seen a spate of alarmingly violent muggings lately. Not to say that the two are necessarily related, but to harried residents they are part and parcel of the same problem: lawless and increasingly unsafe streets.

In response, the 34th Precinct says it has ticketed drivers and even confiscated vehicles, and has promised to step up patrols and take a zero tolerance approach to noise. Last weekend was a bit calmer than usual on my Inwood block, but Upper Manhattanites are accustomed to selective enforcement, and have learned that complacency is never an option.

CB 12 has asked the city to install speed bumps in trouble spots, but DOT says daytime speed tests conducted last November (a month when motorcycle racing isn’t normally an issue) didn’t meet required criteria. The board has requested that tests be performed again on a weekend as late at night as possible, since DOT told transportation committee members that the agency doesn’t gather such data overnight.

Tomorrow’s meeting, which is co-sponsored by Council Members Robert Jackson and Miguel Martinez, will be held at CB 12 headquarters, 711 W. 168th Street in Washington Heights, at 7 p.m. As always, the more locals in attendance the better.

For the latest on this and other relevant issues in Upper Manhattan, keep an eye on the Inwood and Washington Heights Livable Streets group.

  • James

    I’m glad to see this. I don’t live in Upper Manhattan but find myself in the neighborhood on a regular basis for shopping since it’s just a few stops south of me on the 1 train. The reckless driving (the kamikaze gypsy cabs in particular) along Broadway and Dyckman is out of control and makes for an anxiety-filled experience as a pedestrian to say the least.

  • Of the five motorcycles parked last Saturday night in the taxi stand at 190th and St. Nicholas, one was licensed in Florida and one was licensed in Pennsylvania. Brad, do these folks hail from elsewhere or are they just scamming their insurance companies?

  • C. Darland

    I live on Seaman Avenue – I have long considered mobilizing my neighbors for a late night “speedbump-a-thon” in which we build DIY speedbumps along Seaman Avenue to stop the traffic from reckless speeding (the worst villains – car service drivers).
    Frankly, a big part of the problem is the breakdown of driving skills and disintegration of driving civility – the “me first” attitude of most NYC drivers make the streets throughout the city more dangerous.
    What I would REALLY like to see are parking permits for the neighborhood in order to reduce the “out of neighborhood” parkers who drive in from Bronx, Jersey, etc. and then take the subway to points downtown. And designated “loading zones” in front of each building that allow deliveries and legitimate drop-offs.
    Finally, start punishing double-parkers!

  • Jonathan — It’s my understanding from folks who know better than I that the motorcyclists mostly come in from outside of Manhattan, if not outside the city (i.e. Jersey). Hard to believe they’re traveling from as far as Florida, or even PA, with any regularity, so I wouldn’t rule out insurance fraud in those cases.

  • Donna

    Does anyone know what the outcome of the meeting was? The gypsy cabs near w. 171st and Broadway are completely out of control. The beep at each other to say hello, they beep at every corner all day and night. Community Board 12 has done nothing to educate the drivers that horn honking is against the law. The taxi and Limo commission doesn’t even require livery-cab drivers have any kind of training. Many of the islands these drivers come from it is common to beep the horn at each other and say hello. The TLC needs to enforce that this isn’t allowed in NYC. We live too close together. The liver-cabs “run” Washington Heights. They seem to have no awareness of how much they contribute to noise pollution. The TLC has a responsibility to train these drivers and then penalize them if they do not comply. They deteriorate the quality of life for residents here in Washington Heights.

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