Eyes on the Street Redux: 28th Precinct Still Putting Harlem Cyclists at Risk

Former Streetsblog reporter Noah Kazis noted in 2010 how NYPD had commandeered sidewalks and bike lanes outside Harlem’s 28th Precinct, on St. Nicholas Avenue between 122nd and 123rd Streets.

“These aren’t just squad cars positioned for a speedy exit in case of emergency,” Noah wrote. “Many of the cars appear to be personal vehicles bearing police union bumper stickers or other markers that the owner carries some official authority.”

Two years later, nothing has changed. A reader sent us these photos of cruisers and officers’ personal vehicles, still stored on the street in a manner that renders the bike lanes unusable.

“One of the only bike lanes in Harlem is constantly blocked,” our tipster writes. “As a result, bikes have to steer into traffic and risk an accident.”

To ask that NYPD stop endangering Harlem cyclists and pedestrians, readers can call the precinct at 212-678-1611, contact Giji James at Community Board 10, or file a complaint on the DOT web site.

Better still might be a visit to the precinct’s next community council meeting. The 28th Precinct council meetings happen at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at 2271-89 Eighth Avenue. The community affairs number is 212-678-1622.

  • Anonymous

    that’s just SO disrespectful… why can’t they just pull back a little further. seriously?!

  • Anonymous

    Ah, my favorite precinct! I bike by it often. They park on the sidewalk, they park perpendicular to the sidewalk, they park the wrong way, they block the bike lane, they block accessibility ramps, they block fire hydrants, and then they double or triple park on top of it all.

    The only good news is that that stretch of St. Nicholas Ave. has very little traffic. Most of the motorists who want to get somewhere are on FDB or ACP Blvds.

  • Bolwerk

    Do they ticket cyclists who leave the bike lane to avoid the obstruction too? 

  • Guest

    It never ceases to amaze me how Kelly and Bloomberg tacitly encourage police officers to routinely break the law for any minor personal whim, only to act shocked when one of the “bad apples” gets caught engaging in more serious crimes.

    When they’re all busy breaking the law every day, how are you supposed to recognize the ones that are inclined to do really horrible things?

  • jrab

    But Brad, you’ve just committed the same fallacy that we Streetsblog readers love to point out in others, particularly in Jess Lappin: confusing an apparently dangerous situation with actual mayhem and damage.

    I don’t see why we castigate Upper East Siders for complaining to their community board about “rogue” bicyclists who whizz by them, “almost” colliding, and then ourselves tsk-tsk about cops who make cyclists “risk an accident.”
    In those two years since Noah wrote about it last time, how many cyclists have been injured or killed on that block of St. Nicholas Avenue?
    If the answer is “none,” then I suspect you will proceed to the inevitable second barrel, “poor cycling infrastructure discourages people from cycling.” Fair enough, but our municipal cycling infrastructure is pretty discouraging all around. I am still waiting for a bike lane of any stripe through Times Square, for instance.

    Now it’s true that public servants ought to be held to a higher standard, but it seems to me that the police have enough to answer for when it comes to actual behaviors, like the periodic ticket blitzes in Central Park.

  • mcsladek

    The bike lane on the southbound side of Richmond Terrace outside the 120th precinct on SI looks exactly the same.  Cop cars–some with expired parking placards–even block one of the auto lanes by the precinct in addition to the bike lane. That can’t be the best thing for emergency vehicle access…

  • Danny G

    You can easily solve it by changing this stretch of St. Nicholas to a one-way street with a two-way bike lane, separated if you wanna. The gain of ten extra feet from a lost travel lane would allow cops to not have to park on the sidewalk or in the bike lane.

  • Brad Aaron

    It may be true that no cyclists have been hurt or killed because the 28th Precinct parks on sidewalks and in bike lanes.

    It is definitely true that many pedestrians and cyclists have been hurt and killed by other motorists putting their vehicles where they should not be.

    It is also true that the number of people hurt and killed by vehicles being where they shouldn’t be far exceeds the number of people hurt and killed by cyclists riding on sidewalks.

  • Paul Peterson

    Parking in bike lanes, on the sidewalk and right in the middle of a crosswalk on Google Streeview. Totally unacceptable: http://bit.ly/Wc1faD

  • Anonymous

    jrab –
    In the big picture of bad things that the NYPD does, parking all over the sidewalks, bike lanes, and wherever else they feel like it is certainly not the worst.
    But if you don’t do anything about that broken window, it creates an environment in which more serious problems are accepted …

  • Anonymous

    I agree with J_12. What irks me the most about this is not the road safety hazard itself, but the whole attitude of “we are above the law and we’ll do whatever we want!” They bring the same attitude to other situations where the stakes are higher. The list is long, so I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader.

  • LN

    You left out the part that because they park on the sidewalk and in the bike lane, they also pile their [consistently very large amounts of] of garbage also in the bike lane or the street.

  • Adam Anon

    Until some politicians grow some brains and some balls to reform NYPD and get them to drop their attitudes towards civilians and start to serve rather than terrorize, nothing will change.

  • Zzarik

    we park trucks sometimes double and then we play catch me if you can with traffic dep officers it is nasty game and I hate major for what he has done with parking rules http://cheapmovingny.com

  • Bluewonderpowermilk96

    @thomas040:disqus True, they could move in back a little more at this location, but the fact of the matter is that it is a lose-lose situation for pedestrians and cyclist. 
    To all:
    You can tell from the picture that that particular street was not designed for 90 degree parking. Same situation at the nearby 32nd Precinct, and it is even a hazard to motorists. Next time anyone walks near the 32 on W 135th Street, note how many cars have front end damage on the left fender. However, it’s really a chronic problem citywide, and not just with the cops, the FDNY near their firehouses too. When it comes down to it, the NYPD has all the right to issue a ticket to any civilian for the slightest infraction like jaywalking (and I saw it happen) but no one can walk up to them and say “pretty please with sugar on top, don’t park like this” because they simply won’t do it. Their arm has to be twisted on a much higher level. What’s the most effective way? I’m not sure, it gets political. (City Ordinance change, Possibilities of Command Discipline, Reduced Overtime, etc…). And this on top of their shaky track record regarding community relations in general. Now, one can say simply street redesigns can deter this kind of practice but this isn’t a 28th Precinct problem, again it is a citywide problem. The 32, 112, 114, 83, Centre Street, the list goes on and on, plus the firehouses too. It’s about time this has to be addressed citywide, because just because someone has a PBA sticker or has special tags doesn’t justify parking how you feel like, where as regular John Does gets bombarded with violations and court dates.

  • Clarke

    Check out the 7th precinct at Pitt St and Delancey St in the Lower East Side. Cars (not police vehicles) double parked, parked at the corner, parked on the sidewalk, parked to obstruct views at cross streets –– in an area with a veritable GLUT of public parking (all perpendicular, back-in spaces) and within less than two “avenue” blocks of F, J, M, and Z train service. Give me a goddamn break.

  • Anonymous

    This stretch of St Nicholas is mad wide. Simply narrow the lanes of traffic and repaint the bike lane beyond the bumpers of the cars and it will work fine.

  • jrab

    Brad, what is the menace of a parked vehicle? Yes, it’s inconvenient, and yes, a car parked on the sidewalk requires pedestrians to look up from their texting to keep from walking into it, but it’s not a menace.

    Let me remind you what a menace is. The killer of Roxana Sorina Buta may still be driving a DOT truck. That is a menace.

    You know this difference. I wouldn’t gripe about it except that I think it muddles your advocacy efforts to be covering one-block inconveniences to bicyclists and pedestrians with the same strident tone used for articles about the coverups in the deaths of Roxana Sorina Buta, Mathieu Lefevre, Stefanos Tsigrimanis, and Clara Heyworth,among others.

  • watch out

    At the Greenpoint precinct they do this. The difference is that it sits across from an elementary school. I don’t know how school officials tolerate it.

  • Nathanael

    This is going to require prosecutions of police. 

    If they’ve been flagrantly ignoring traffic laws for years, they’re not going to clean up their act unless the ringleaders of the gang go to prison.

    This means: focus on the DA elections.  Push a DA candidate who will end the carnage and stop the scofflaw behavior of certain police.

  • Nathanael

    This is going to require prosecutions of police. 

    If they’ve been flagrantly ignoring traffic laws for years, they’re not going to clean up their act unless the ringleaders of the gang go to prison.

    This means: focus on the DA elections.  Push a DA candidate who will end the carnage and stop the scofflaw behavior of certain police.

  • Nathanael

    If anyone owns a tow truck, it would be suitable and legal to tow these cars.

  • Nathanael

    If anyone owns a tow truck, it would be suitable and legal to tow these cars.


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