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With the release of Transportation Alternatives' new report on parking placard abuse and the introduction of City Council Member Daniel Garodnick's bill to add scannable bar codes to official placards, the push is on again to curb the flagrant exploitation of parking privileges. Despite the substantial reduction in official placards by the Bloomberg administration in 2008, vehicles sporting both official and fake placards continue to illegally obstruct sidewalks and clog streets wherever government employees work in large numbers.

It's an open secret that agents won't ticket placarded vehicles, or any vehicle with a placard-like thing on the dash, out of fear of reprisal from higher up. As this placard abuse story indicates, in some cases the agents may just be following orders. Streetsblog was copied on this message sent to NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau and the Manhattan DA's office, from a reader who asked to remain anonymous:

[Yesterday] afternoon around 2:00, I saw Traffic Enforcement Agent Faruque walking down Gramercy Park North checking for Munimeter tickets on the dashboard of parked vehicles. When he passed by a vehicle with no proof of payment, which also had an expired NYPD Restricted placard, I asked why he did not write a summons. He insisted he was not able to write a summons because his supervisor had instructed him not to issue summonses to any vehicles with NYPD placards. I pointed out that the placard was clearly expired, and therefore could not be valid, but he insisted he could not write a summons, and stated that I would need to speak with his supervisor...

If a supervisor has ordered or otherwise directed TEAs to not write summonses for actual violations to vehicles with NYPD credentials, the matter should be properly investigated and prosecuted. I remind you that this organized effort to park without paying constitutes theft of services, and I find it absolutely shocking that this would continue in broad daylight with the attention already directed to the ticket fixing scandal. For us to have any faith in the NYPD, and a bearable quality of life in this city, it is important that police officers and those familiar to them are held equally accountable as everyone else under the law.

Please also be advised that I have written the Commissioner on more than one occasion about the many violations with vehicles using NYPD placards that persist in the area around Gramercy Park, the Academy, and the 13th Precinct. These also include parking at fire hydrants, at crosswalks, using reflective license plate covers, and dark-tinted windows. Despite my repeated pleas, the NYPD has made no apparent effort to address the highly visible illegal conditions created by its own officers in this area.

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