Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

DOT Study Measures Lower Manhattan Placard Abuse


A Department of Transportation study released Friday shows just how out of control placard parking is in Manhattan.

The 187-page report [PDF], accompanied by some 223 pages of maps, was undertaken to assess "how placards are used in Lower Manhattan," and to determine if placard users are taking up more space than is allotted for them. The results should come as no surprise.

Key findings include:

    • Curb parking spaces in Lower Manhattan are highly utilized, with 93% of all legal on-streetparking spaces in Lower Manhattan occupied during the peak hours (9AM-5PM).
    • Vehicles with agency and law enforcement permits, when combined with marked officialvehicles (e.g., police cruisers, DOT bucket trucks), are a large share of the vehiclesparked on-street, comprising 43% of vehicle-hours from 9AM-5PM. Law Enforcementplacards are the major component of these vehicles (23% of all vehicle-hours). (A vehicle-hour is one vehicle parking for one hour. Thus, a vehicle that parks for three hours usesthree vehicle-hours.)
    • Nearly 1 in 8 permitted vehicles were illegally parked at a bus stop, crosswalk, fire hydrant,driveway, or were double-parked.
    • Placards displayed by 9% of all agency and law enforcement permitted vehicles weredeemed to be inauthentic or illegitimate in some way.
    • Vehicles with agency and law enforcement permits use more of the parking supply than isallocated to them, occupying 49% more spaces than are allocated to them during thehours of 9AM-5PM.
    • Vehicles with permits take space away from other designated uses such as curb space forcommercial vehicles - 22% of loading zone spaces were removed from the commercialsupply due to permitted vehicles parking in those spaces.
    • Similarly, 18% of metered spaces were removed from the general public's supply due topermitted vehicles parking in those spaces.
    • Permitted vehicles park for longer periods, on average, than other vehicles, thusconsuming disproportionately more space hours. Agency and law enforcement permitspark on average for 4.0 hours compared with 2.7 hours for privately owned vehicles.
    • 42% of agency business permits park outside of their dedicated parking supply for morethan three hours, which is in violation of their permit.
    • Over the course of a typical day (9AM-5PM) over 3,300 vehicles in Lower Manhattandisplay an LE permit, resulting in nearly 14,000 vehicle hours. This represents almostone-quarter of the total observed vehicle-hours in Lower Manhattan.
    • The peak demand for agency and law enforcement permits is 5,805 and 13,494 vehicle-hours respectively, while their peak supply is only 7,052 and 5,937 space-hours,respectively. Therefore, while agency permits are technically parking within their allocatedsupply, vehicles with law enforcement permits use 127% more space hours than aredesignated for them from 9AM-5PM. This may indicate that the space allotment for lawenforcement is not sufficient for its needs during those hours.

Data for the study was collected from September through November of 2006. 

Continuing its coverage of the placard abuse epidemic, the Times has a nice summary of the report, pointing out that the "biggest contributors to the parking crunch were vehicles with law
enforcement placards" -- which "are also the most likely to park
in an unsafe way."

Among the nearly 700 vehicleswith placards that were spotted parked in crosswalks or at hydrants,double-parked or parked in other hazardous ways, more than halfbelonged to law enforcement.

And check out the guy who pays someone to drive his SUV around all day so he won't get a parking ticket. 

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Opinion: Connect the Dots of Manhattan’s Missing Bike Lanes

Only a few miles of missing protected lanes stand in the way of a robust bike network.

April 15, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Thanking the Academy Edition

We would be remiss if we didn't offer some photos and copy about Friday's George Polk Awards ceremony, plus other news.

April 15, 2024

Civic Panel Pushes For Atlantic Ave. Safety Upgrades

Brooklyn Community Board 2 stopped short of calling for a more aggressive redesign of a street where drivers have killed six pedestrians in the last decade.

April 15, 2024

Vandals Commit Mass Arborcide Near the Greenway in Kissena Park

Hundreds of young trees were ripped from the ground — some stolen, some just left for dead — near the greenway in Kissena Park in Queens.

April 14, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: The Polk’s on Us Edition

This afternoon, our reporter Jesse Coburn will journey to Midtown to accept Streetsblog's first George Polk Award, one of journalism's highest honors. But before that, here's the news.

April 12, 2024
See all posts