A Crash Course on Driver Safety for Parks Dept. Employees

A Parks Dept. truck crashes a Central Park wedding

Following Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe’s recent reminder for "Parkies" to drive safely and the revocation of parking permits on Central Park’s East Drive, the Parks Dept. recently sent out another mass e-mail to employees noting that "in the last few months we have seen an increase in vehicle accidents." From a tipster:

From: Broadcast Message
Sent: Fri 8/17/2007 12:18 PM
Subject: Important Vehicle Safety Message

It has been a busy summer so far at Parks, and we are successfully serving millions of New Yorkers and visitors. We are also doing so with hundreds of new staff who have recently joined the agency.

As we perform our vital roles, we must ensure that the public and our staff stay safe. Safety is especially important when it comes to vehicles and equipment. In the last few months, we have seen an increase in vehicle accidents. All of us must emphasize the importance of caution and care when driving vehicles and begin a renewed focus on reducing our accident rate. Accidents can jeopardize our patrons and staff, disrupt operations, and cost time and money. The majority of our accidents involve rear-ending other vehicles or hitting non-moving objects. These can and should be prevented.

Some things everyone should remember:

* You may not operate vehicles in active use areas such as ball fields or playgrounds without a guide outside the vehicle ensuring the safety of our patrons.

* You must follow all traffic and parking laws including restrictions on double parking and parking on public sidewalks.

* You may not drive a vehicle while using a cell phone, unless you use a hands free set. Pay attention to the road at all times.

* You are not to operate vehicles on park paths, closed drives, boardwalks or other active use spaces unless you must do so for direct work activities. Vehicles are to be operated on active use park areas only when absolutely necessary.

* No one may commute with a Parks vehicle – City owned, donated, or leased -without expressed written authorization from Operations. City EZ Passes may never be used for personal commutes.

* Parks offers the State Defensive Driving Course for all Parks Authorized Drivers, free of charge.

* Out of City trips with Parks vehicles must be approved by Operations. 

Thank you.

Photo: BlancheandGuy on Flickr 

  • Rusticumjudicium

    Picture is priceless.

  • Spud Spudly

    The picture and caption are probably misleading.

    A Parks guy driving a Parks vehicle while at work in a park — so what? Is there any reason to believe he was violating one of Benepe’s directives? Do you want him to pick up the trash and carry it on his back (or his tools, or whatever else he might have been transporting)?

  • I should probably clarify: The photo is from 2005, was found on Flickr and the caption is meant to be funny.

    There may not even be a driver in that truck. If there is a driver in the truck, I doubt that he is trying to drive through a wedding party.

  • Spud Spudly

    Fari enough Aaron. It looks more like a photo op anyway — like a woman in short sleeves taking a picture of a bride and a shaggy-haired guy in a bad suit.

  • fdr

    The shaggy haired guy – could it be Mike Primeggia?

  • Forget this hands free exception. The research shows that it is not the hands but the head that is impaired.

  • offgrid

    Multiple double-parked Parks Department vehicles,
    especially S.U.V.s, were a menace for years at the
    intersection occupied by the Parks facility closest
    to where I live in the Village. Those parking
    offenses now are mostly history. The result–greater
    safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers–is
    noticable. While I’m still no fan of Parks (among a
    multitude of reasons, think first pathological fence
    obsession), I must salute that department for the

  • Maybe not everyone got the memo.

    Riding down the Hudson River Greenway yesterday afternoon some sort of park employee (I don’t think city workers maintain that park, right?) pulled out into the bike lane at high speed in one of those golf cart-like vehicles and came about an inch from smashing into a cyclist riding about five yards in front of me.

    Most disconcerting about the whole thing was that the golf cart driver appeared to be looking right at me and the other cyclist as she pulled out into the bike path. Neither she nor her two passengers said a thing during or after the near-miss. They all just kind of stared us down as if the kid on the bike in front of me was at fault. It almost seemed malicious.

  • Hilary

    Aaron, I would direct the complaint to the Hudson River Park Trust and Friends of Hudson River Park. It happens to often.

  • steve

    Aaron, those are state employees. another big problem with the golf cart jockeys, after staring down bicyclists on the bike path, is angrily ordering them out of the areas they consider to be the state park, whether or not there are signs indicating where state park begins/ends, or whether bicycles are allowed or prohibited in what they perceive as the state park.

  • galvo

    what is the location of these state park golf cart jockeys?

  • steve

    Galvo, they are generally stationed at the newly-built recreational piers that lie south of 57th Street. They like to ride the golf carts among the piers, via the Greenway. Look for the all-green piers on this map:


  • galvo

    thanks steve, aren’t those areas nyc parks or hudson river parks? the only area i know where there is state parkland on the greenway is robert wagner park at the battery , which is bicycle friendly and riverbank state park which does not allow bicycles on its proerty, i dont think you can even walk a bicycle to the entrance,only cars and buses allowed.

  • steve

    Galvo, I’m pretty sure those are state, not city parks on those green piers south of 57th. Agree with you that Battery Park staff have a totally different attitude toward bikes–not sure why things are different in midtown.

  • ha ha. i’m the one who took that picture. it was in the beautiful gardens way up in the north east end of central park. near 5th ave and 100th street i think. i lived up in harlem at the time and this was a nice walk to take with my dogs. the city parks people were all very nice and polite that day. people were all looking at the newlyweds and it seemed like all had a warm fuzzy optimistic feeling.

    i’ve since moved to the catskills where i rarely see any city or state employees. it’s pretty refreshing out here in the sticks! I recommend it to everyone!

  • It would be nice if people, not only “parkies” learn to be considerate of others and really drive cautiously. I always believe in the saying that “driving is a responsibility, not a privilege” – if you are given the permit to drive an automobile, you should also know how the responsibilities and considerations imparted with it. Take care of your car and yourself as well – wear extreme glare sunglasses to help block the UV rays from the sun and never ever drive drunk.


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