City Hall Says It Will Release Records on New Teacher Parking Placards … After the Election

The public won’t know what prompted de Blasio to restore teacher parking perks until the general election is in the mayor’s rear view mirror.

Mayor de Blasio and UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Photo: Rob Bennett/Office of the Mayor
Mayor de Blasio and UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Photo: Rob Bennett/Office of the Mayor

New York City schools won’t get added protection from speeding drivers this year. And after Mayor de Blasio’s big spring placard giveaway, thousands more teachers have an incentive to drive to work, adding to traffic hazards for children and their families.

If you’d like to know what caused the city to reissue tens of thousands of parking permits to Department of Education employees last May, City Hall has agreed to release the relevant documents — after the November election.

To recap, in 2008 Mayor Michael Bloomberg reduced the number of DOE placards from 63,000 to around 11,000, aligning the number of permits with the number on-street parking spots reserved for schools. Issuing permits to teachers who didn’t have reserved spots, as the DOE did before, often resulted in illegal parking around schools, since a placard is a license to park just about anywhere without fear of getting a ticket.

After some pushback, the United Federation of Teachers accepted the cuts. (Randi Weingarten, then UFT president, acknowledged the old system wasn’t working.) But the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the school principals union, sued the city to get placards for its members restored.

Earlier this year, an arbitration ruling led the city to reissue CSA placards. According to the principals union, the de Blasio administration “decided on its own” to extend parking privileges to every DOE employee who has a car and wants a permit. In addition to the 6,200 principals and other school administrators represented by the CSA, City Hall made placards available to 94,000 UFT members, as well as 25,000 DOE employees who belong to DC 37.

Since the city did not increase the number of on-street spots allocated to schools, tens of thousands of DOE employees are again competing for approximately 11,000 on-street parking spots. When they can’t find a spot, it’s open season on crosswalks, bus stops, no-standing zones, and other areas where parking is normally prohibited.

The thousands of teachers and other DOE employees who walk, bike, and take to transit, meanwhile, got nothing out of the deal. If anything, their commutes may be made worse as more of their colleagues drive to work.

When media outlets picked up Streetsblog’s coverage of the new placards, de Blasio announced that the permits would be accompanied by unprecedented levels of parking enforcement. Four months later, motorists with placards are still parking wherever they want.

City Hall and DOE declined to provide Streetsblog with a copy of the arbitration ruling, and wouldn’t say why the city chose to reissue UFT permits. In May we filed a freedom of information request for the ruling, as well as emails and other records pertaining to new placards for UFT and DC 37 members.

Under New York law, government agencies are granted a lot of leeway in honoring FOIL requests. Due to “the volume of requests” the city receives, City Hall said its target date for producing the records is November 24, two weeks after voters decide whether to give Bill de Blasio a second term.

  • Anijake

    A bribe to the UTF, plain and simple.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well all the other pols had bribed the UFT so many times with retroactive pension increases that the NYC teacher pension plan is deep in the hole. So DeBlasio had to come up with something else.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/long-term-pension-data-for-new-york-and-new-jersey-to-2016-teacher-pensions/

    On the list of unfair and inequitable actions to add privileges for the political/union class at the expense of the serfs, this one ranks fairly low. On the other hand, given what has been done to the transit system, this might have been important to the UFT, because it makes it easier to its members to commute in from outside the city.

  • AMH

    He has so lost my vote.

  • Joe R.

    Anyone who ever paid any attention to de Blasio would have known he’s always been squarely in the camps of drivers. All the stuff about Vision Zero was lip service to get votes.

    Don’t know if it’s a glimpse into the future, but I had a dream last week. In the dream de Blasio was a very large, very annoying giraffe who kept butting his head against me. Don’t remember much of the rest of the dream except that it ended with me and my companions enjoying roasted giraffe on an open pit fire in the African savannah. Hopefully a symbolic glimpse of the results of this year’s election. BTW, I was on amoxicillin and I often have very vivid, strange dreams when I’m on any kind of medication.

  • Vooch

    Dude,

    like can you get me some of that mircodot too ? sounds trippy

  • Larry Littlefield

    The problem is, are you going to vote for someone else, and if so whom?
    It’s a problem in every election these days.

  • Joe R.

    Nothing illegal. As I said, just amoxicillin. You should see some of the dreams I’ve have when I take Nyquil. That’s really trippy stuff. And I often actually remember a good part of my dreams.

  • Joe R.

    I’d personally vote for a Republican. Yes, anyone GOP is likely to have little to offer on bikes, transit, etc. However, most of the so-called progressive Democrats haven’t given us much in those areas, either. At least I know any GOP challenger is less likely to give big giveaways to public labor unions. If there’s any major structural problem facing NYC, it’s past obligations to public labor unions. We have plenty of tax money coming in if only we actually spent it on things which benefit everyone.

  • MrLomez

    Ballot initiative to end placards! Let the agencies reimburse for meters, lot parking on official business and provide pre-tax benefits for commuting.

  • AMH

    Yeah…it is.

  • Mister Sterling

    I’m voting Green. But I acknowledge that not a single candidate is good enough for this city. There’s no one good who wants this job.

  • Vooch

    the IRS requires benefits such as parking placards be taxed via withholding

  • Alicia Bella

    check out Robert Gangi! He is a true progressive candidate who has worked as an activist his entire career in NYC.

  • Alicia Bella

    Check out Robert Gangi before hitting the polls tomorrow! He is the only progressive candidate on the ballot who actually cares about us, NYers

  • Vooch

    thoughts ?

  • JEFFJAGUAR

    Couldn’t resist the temptation to bring up the pensions which is eating you up due to your hatred of the UFT. For what reason, one does’t know.

  • Joe R.

    A lot of questions:

    1) How does it affect visibility in the real world? To me it looks like it blocks some of your rear visibility.

    2) How does it affect the aerodynamics? The windshield only option might reduce drag but it looks like the other options significantly increase drag.

    3) How does it affect handling in crosswinds (especially relevant for the enclosed options)? I recall a full front wheel fairing made my bike difficult in crosswinds. This could well be worse.

    It’s not a horrible concept, but in the real world the devil is always in the details. Personally, if I want to be totally enclosed I’d go for a velomobile with a full fairing. The aerodynamics/handling are known, and actually much superior to a regular bike.

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