Via Gothamist, here’s a story that nicely encapsulates why parking placards should be completely abolished. On Monday, a Boogiedowner reader caught Bronx Assembly member Vanessa Gibson parking in the bike lane on the Grand Concourse, NYPD-issued placard on the dash for all to see. When the Bronx News Network asked Gibson to explain herself, she offered this apology:
The bike lane on the Grand Concourse has been a positive addition for a
lot of Bronx residents. As you know, there is a serious lack of parking
on the Grand Concourse, but I have always respected the bike lane and
apologize for blocking it. In this instance, my car was left in the
bike lane for a few moments while I was unloading supplies for my
district office. I realize that caused some inconvenience and will make
every effort to avoid blocking the bike lane in the future.
A few refreshers. Forcing cyclists into traffic isn’t just an "inconvenience," it endangers other people. The rate of injuries and deaths on the Grand Concourse led the Tri-State Transportation Campaign to name it the second most dangerous road in the Bronx last year. Also, as Transportation Alternatives’ Wiley Norvell told the Bronx News Network, a placard on the dash doesn’t make bike lane-blocking legal. But it’s enough to intimidate traffic agents into not issuing a ticket.
Gibson, a freshman Assembly member who replaced her former boss, Aurelia Greene, after a special election last fall, didn’t explain why she was using a police placard. Giving it up for good might help her keep the promise not to block the bike lane. It will still be tough to find a safe, legal place to park and unload stuff in front of the district office, so the next step would have be to putting in a request with the city for performance parking on the Grand Concourse.