Cuomo to Cut 10 Percent of State Parking Placards

A state-issued parking placard, in this case owned and cut in two by Senator Tony Avella. Governor Cuomo has called for reforming the state's placard process. Photo: ## Nation##

In response to some high-profile abuses of state-issued parking placards and a report by the state’s Inspector General, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that he will be reforming the way placards are issued and releasing ten percent fewer total placards. The new state placard regime will be only modestly more strict than before, but creates a framework for regulating what have become coveted perks and magnets for petty corruption.

Currently, there are 2,210 state-issued parking placards, 1,730 of which are ostensibly police placards. Under Cuomo’s plan, the total will drop to 1,993 placards and most will be converted to “official business” placards. For comparison, New York City issues tens of thousands of official placards.

The list of state officials caught abusing their placard privileges could fill a book, but the issue grabbed the spotlight when the Times reported that State Senator Carl Kruger, now indicted for corruption, had managed to swing police placards for his housemates Michael and Gerard Turano. In October, Brooklyn Assembly Member Vito Lopez’s car was photographed with no fewer than three separate placards on the dashboard.

Cuomo’s plan also sets into place a formal application process for receiving a placard, something that did not previously exist, according to the governor’s office. Applicants will need to explain why they need a placard and which vehicle they’ll be using it with, and they’ll have to sign a statement accepting the proper use of placards. Those applications will then be reviewed by both the applicant’s agency and by either the State Police or Governor’s Office of Public Safety.

That application process will allow the redesigned placards to display the license plate number of the car it belongs to, theoretically making it more difficult to share the placards or use them on personal vehicles after hours.

Lots of questions linger about the state’s placard program, and neither the Inspector General nor  the governor’s office have replied to our inquiries. For example, are “official business” placards meaningfully different from police placards to the person handing out traffic tickets? And does Cuomo have any plan to address symbols like an MTA vest in the windshield that aren’t technically placards but send the same message?

The proof will be in the pudding: the number of days before another state legislator gets caught abusing his placard.

  • I will keep repeating my bit about placards:

    The reason placards work is because there is a class of automobilists who have successfully persuaded the authorities that they deserve the privilege of parking anywhere they like. This class includes police officers, ambulances, active-duty military, federal law enforcement, and doctors. Placard reform can limit the abuses of this privilege (by other municipal workers and elected officials, say), but just getting rid of placards won’t make authorities any less reluctant to ticket cops or doctors.

  • Anonymous

    When I was in college I lived on Charles St. next to the 6th Precinct house in Manhattan, and when I rented cars a couple of times I discovered that anyone without a police placard who parked on my street–in the LEGAL parking spots–would get a ticket. Meanwhile, the cops parked on the sidewalk, double parked, etc. so the only way people could get to my building half the time was to walk down the middle of the street. The cops I talked to over the years all lived in Nassau, and they liked to bitch about the fact they weren’t allowed to live in Jersey (at that time). I’m sure they’ll be right on top of enforcing placard abuse–top priority.

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