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Downtown Brooklyn

On Jay Street, Police Break Traffic Laws More Than They Enforce Them

11:58 AM EST on November 29, 2011

Walk out on any New York City street and you're likely to find rampant disregard for traffic laws. Pinpointing exactly who's speeding requires special equipment, but for many offenses, you can track the level of lawlessness with the naked eye.

A team of Transportation Alternatives volunteers did just that over the course of October on the block of Jay Street between Willoughby and Johnson Streets, a major approach to the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge in downtown Brooklyn. Over the course of eight weekday rush hours, the volunteers tracked three easy-to-catch violations: Bike lane blocking, bus stop blocking, and illegal U-turns.

On that one block, 49 drivers parked in the bike lane every hour, 18 parked in the bus stop, and another eighteen made an illegal U-ey. You can do your own count in the video above.

Brooklyn cyclists, transit riders, pedestrians and motorists hoping for a safe and easy commute shouldn't look to the NYPD to clean up Jay Street, either. In an average hour, three of the drivers parked in the bike lane, five parked in a bus stop, and two of the U-turners were cops, according to T.A.

In other words, police officers made as many illegal U-turns on this block in a single hour as the number of summonses NYPD issued for illegal U-turns on the same stretch in the entire month of September, according to T.A.

"The police aren’t paying attention (and are breaking the law), so drivers think they can get away with anything," said T.A. Executive Director Paul Steely White in a statement. "With so little enforcement against the many drivers who blatantly ignore the rules of the road, everyone on this street is in harm’s way. Police Commissioner Kelly needs to get his department in order and make traffic safety a priority."

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