Eyes on the Street: Bushwick Sidewalk Driver Gets a Pass


From a tipster on Bogart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn:

I thought you might appreciate this picture. It was taken today out of my bedroom window. A car drove up onto the sidewalk, and the man in the car promptly got on his cell phone while sitting in the driver’s seat. Two police cars drove by (this picture shows the second cruiser), and neither even slowed down. I have heard rumors from TA that my neighborhood is home to one of the highest concentrations of tickets for cyclists for equivalent offenses (my roommate was given a ticket a few blocks away for biking on the sidewalk around street construction). While biking on the sidewalk perhaps justly deserves a ticket, a ticket for driving on the sidewalk is even more justified.

Maybe it’s a matter of sharing the windshield perspective.

Triple-parked cops and judges in Lower Manhattan

  • Joe

    It looks like it could be an unmarked police car.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Any driver who uses an off-street parking facility drives on the sidewalk to get to it.

  • NoisyFisherman

    Commuting home by bike Monday- Waited next to a squad car for the light to change at the intersection(for fear of getting a ticket similiar to my co-workers two tickets for riding on the side walk after taking a red light-$250.00 plus 3 points on his license)
    The light turns green and I take off before the squad car does and nearly get clipped by a driver who blatantly ran the red light, I pulled up to the squad car and asked them why they didn’t pursue the driver who nearly ran me over his response was rolling up his window and speeding away-

    I just can’t figure out the hypocrisy and inconsistency of traffic enforcement in this city.

  • Police will always give breaks to those they relate to culturally and come down hard on those they see as different. We should fix what we can fix: adjust fines and points to correspond with the physical threat posed by the vehicle and violation. And add some damn nuance while we’re at it, like banning sidewalk riding only when pedestrians are present and the speed is excessive. I roll 20 yards down the sidewalk every morning to get around the line of tightly parked cars out my front door; it’s no different from cars driving acrosss the sidewalk to access garages (except that I am highly unlikely to kill anybody, with a combined mass of 160 lbs. and a speed of 5 miles per hour).

  • We can also fix the residency requirement — there isn’t one. The cops in this instance might have acted differently if they identified personally with the people living in the building with the blocked sidewalk.

  • Yes, and any of the zero-human-enforcement livable street measures we talk about to discourage driving would help wean cops off their auto-lifestyles the same as everyone else. Narrowing the cultural gap will make both the police and the people they serve happier.

    But even with cultural parity, selective enforcement is a terrible thing. It’s fuel for corruption, racial profiling most obviously. As a people we are foolish to give police the power to punish at will for things that “everyone does”. We should decriminalize from the top down, and when we are left only with laws forbidding things that are actually dangerous and/or antisocial (like driving a car on the sidewalk), it would be safe to have the police write tickets on commission. (Let’s say, video of the violation is required to collect commission.) Universal enforcement is, counterintuitively, an excellent way to restrain police power.

  • sean

    The police are the worst traffic violators in the city. I saw not too long ago these two cops pull up on the sidewalk (WHEN THERE WERE SPOTS AVAILABLE) to go into a Duane Reade. I wanted to blow that fucking thing up. Streetsblog should sponsor something like Copwatch specifically for biking and mass transit issues – because god knows they don’t give a shit right now; I feel more likely to get attention for drinking on the subway than for getting run over by an SUV.


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