Eyes on the Street: Words Fail


We were out last Friday taking shots of cars parked in the new Select Bus lanes on 34th Street — you know, the ones NYPD has pledged to help keep clear. If only we had walked a few blocks west we might have hit the mother lode.

This shot, submitted by a tipster, is of 34th between 8th and 9th Avenues. Is this Midtown South precinct parking? VIP detail? The aftermath of an anti-terror swarm? Does it matter?

  • mike


    Once again it’s clear that, when it comes to enforcing traffic laws, the NYPD does not know what the actual laws are, and even if they did, they don’t care to enforce them or to follow them.

  • I don’t really want to open this can of worms, but the first thing I noticed in this picture was the wrong-way cyclist on a traffic-free street.

  • Tipster

    I took that shot and just wanted to point out that 34th wasn’t traffic-free at all; it took quite a few tries to get a clear picture.

  • Brooklyn

    haha Daniel, I was going to point out the same thing. Anarchy cutting both ways. Isn’t tonight Critical Mass? Might explain the massing of vehicles.

  • This is another reason why The Times column from earlier this week missed the point. Until we can invest in true, separated BRT lanes that don’t allow for cops or other types of parking, it’s folly to forego subway investments and push bus lanes that simply turn into parking spots painted red.

  • PD State

    Didn’t you hear? The PD is taking over public transit in NYC. They are the only government agency with any money left. This is the 34th St cross-town SUV caravan pulling in to pick-up passengers.

  • Streetsman

    Re #5

    I don’t think there’s anyone involved at the DOT or MTA that wouldn’t prefer a separated bus lane. I think this was the quickest and cheapest way they could get this pilot done. Of course we have seen they have plans for a much more robust facility on 34th Street, but as part of a longer-term capital plan who knows how many years it will take (3? 5?) before it is constructed. What installing this temporary lane does do is garner public support for the separated facility. Photos like this rally the cry for a separated facility – cries that would not have been nearly as loud nor as numerous had they not installed this inadequate first step. Whether or not that effect was intentional, it does make at least one argument for phasing in things like this in small steps. Give people a taste and they will demand more.

  • merc19

    midtown south is 35th between 8th and 9th. This is traffic cop parking. There is a DMV and a traffic cop hub right at that location. Yes, the ones that write the tickets are also the ones that violate the law. Someone should also photo the parking situation on 35th between 8th and 9th. The cops park on the sidewalk, so far up sometimes, barely one person can pass. If you were on a wheelchair,,, yea… forget it.

  • fdr

    Check the 34th Street announcement on the DOT web site. It says the new lane will be “enforceable” by the Police Dept. It doesn’t say it will be “enforced”.

  • Barnard

    Good luck bus riders! Hope you have a quick ride across town!

    I believe N.W.A. put it best in their 1988 masterpiece…

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Did you know that NYPD manpower is so large that it is bigger than the next 4 largest US PDs combined (or something like that, give or take a PD or 2). The reality is that human against human crime really is no longer all that big of a deal in NYC like is was 15 years ago. And with so many “eyes on the streets” these days, I’d say the first place that NYC could cut its budget is with the NYPD.

    Hell cutting the force would probably reduce crime since the cops are often the most flagrant violators of the law anyway as this picture clearly demonstrates!

    PS – BTW I love cops! But only the ones that respect the privileged positions that WE THE PEOPLE have granted them.

  • Ian Turner

    It’s true that the NYPD has a huge number of officers, but it’s not really true that “human against human crime is no longer a big deal”. There are some parts of the city where that is true, and overall the city is quite safe — I believe that New York was rated the safest big city in the country. But that safety is not uniform; there remain many neighborhoods in Brooklyn that are unsafe at night, and muggings remain common in some places. What has dropped considerably is the murder count, most probably as a result of long-term tightened gun control. Many muggings are now taking place with knives rather than firearms, and that’s a good thing.

  • Michael1

    Just throwing out the idea that it could be UN-related detail. Then again, mass transit was encouraged. Felt like sharing that little point-of-view. Comments?

  • James

    I was in Fordham yesterday and the Select Bus Lanes were covered by vehicles for blocks. They were rendered completely unusable for buses. I did happen to see an NYC Sanitation car (not a street sweeper, but a car) parked in the lane, along with dozens of private and commercial vehicles. There is no enforcement going on at all.

  • Anon

    We need these special lanes separated from traffic so no parking can occur. The same separation is needed for bike lanes. The bike lanes should be located between the curb and a row of parked cars so that the biker is separated from moving traffic. I don’t understand why that simple change in space use cannot be done easily. It requires the same painted lines as the ones now existing but it will make bike lanes much safer and the bikers who don’t use them will have to suffer enforcement.

  • Davis


    Yesterday was Saturday and I’m pretty sure that Select Bus Service on Fordham Road only runs weekdays 7am to 7pm.

  • Davis, the SBS website says otherwise:

    Select Bus Service Hours of Operation Are:

    Monday to Friday
    5:15 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., westbound
    6 a.m. -10:50 p.m., eastbound

    Saturdays and Sundays
    6 a.m. – 10 p.m., westbound
    7 a.m. – 11 p.m., eastbound

  • fdr

    Have you ever seen a Law & Order episode where they radio for a police van to take a “perp”? They refer to the van as a bus. Maybe they think “bus lane” means “for NYPD vehicles”.

  • Cops do need to stop their cars somewhere. But why don’t they just park in the first traffic lane? Then traffic can get by (slower) and buses can get by (faster). The bus lane should be the *last* place you stop, not the first.

    It’s like I always wonder why double parkers always pull into the bike lane. I understand sometimes you do need to double park. Then do it in the traffic lane like God intended!

  • dk

    I work on 34th and have noticed that the police occasionally take up the entire bus lane between 7th and 8th Aves, usually somewhere around lunch time. I have no idea what they are doing, but they usually leave after hanging about for an hour or so (not sure about this, as I don’t sit around and wait to see what happens, but notice they are gone when I’m back from lunch). Also, most of the cars are idling while they wait for whatever it is they are preparing to do…

  • fdr , police lingo trivia i believe a bus is an ambulance.
    what a bunch of tools parking in the bus lane


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