70th Precinct Fines People for Choosing a Safe Place to Walk or Bike at Night

Brooklynites are asking the city to stop penalizing people for walking and biking on a park path that lets them avoid dangerous traffic on a nearby street.

Map: DOITT
The 70th Precinct has deemed the north-south biking and walking path through the Parade Ground off-limits after dark, fining people for using a bypass around dangerous Coney Island Avenue. Map: DOITT

The paved path through the Parade Ground south of Prospect Park links the park loop with low-traffic neighborhood streets, serving as an alternative to Coney Island Avenue, a wide street with four lanes of through traffic. In particular, the path allows people to avoid the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Caton Avenue, where drivers injured an average of two pedestrians or cyclists per year between 1995 and 2009, according to Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat. The path is also a designated bikeway on the New York City bike map.

It’s common for people to use the path at night, and over the summer, local residents asked the 70th Precinct to stop issuing criminal court summonses on the path after sunset.

At a September meeting of the 70th Precinct community council, Deputy Inspector Richard DiBlasio said NYPD was issuing summonses for the safety of people walking and biking, reported Ditmas Park Corner. “Unfortunately, there’s been some recent crime in that area — there’s been an increase in crime in that area,” said DiBlasio. “We don’t want to prevent anyone from using our park, but when it gets dark in that park there are different rules because it’s not safe.” The Prospect Park Alliance posted new signs emphasizing that the path closes at night.

But people who use the park path are more concerned about traffic on Coney Island Avenue than traveling through the Parade Ground after dark.

“Many are coming and going to Prospect Park while others are walking home from the F train,” wrote local resident Olgierd Bilanow on a petition asking the Prospect Park Alliance and the city to change the rules and keep the path open until 1 a.m. “For all these people walking through the Parade Ground path is the easiest, safest and most pleasant way to go between home and Park Circle.”

On Tuesday, Bilanow posted an update: “The 70th Precinct has vetoed any changes to the hours at the Parade Grounds.”

  • mrtuffguy

    The east side of the Parade Grounds is the site of several murders over the past few years. Nothing so bad has happened in the driveway to my knowledge.

  • neroden

    Since when does the 70th precinct have any right to set the rules here?

    The parks department should simply declare the path open and tell the precinct to shut up. Go over the heads of NYPD; it’s a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization at this point anyway.

  • neroden

    Replace the DAs. There are other issues in the mayor’s race… but in the DA’s races, the ONLY issues are:
    (1) crime committed by police
    (2) crime committed by motorists and ignored by police
    (3) crime committed by other people and ignored by police

    It’s going to be easier to get real candidates and win elections on the DA side of things.

  • neroden

    If the police are parking cars on the sidewalk, they need to be arrested.

  • neroden

    Perhaps there should be a concerted campaign to report the sidewalk-blocking. Go in with a large group, photograph the illegally parked police cars, then go in and file a police report against the crooked cops who are parked illegally.

    Repeat daily. Wait for the criminal cops to retaliate, and be ready with filming and broadcasting. Then demand that de Blasio do something about the corrupt precinct.

  • neroden

    Anyone own a tow truck company? Tow them all.

    You probably want to first run the stunt I suggested earlier, of reporting them all every single day (on camera).

  • TOM

    The police tried to stop me last week from riding through the park but I drove right past the cop and up a side street where the cop could not go through. I knew that the police were giving stupid tickets like this. Seems to me that they have nothing better to do.

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