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Eyes on the Street: Parks Officers Ignore Driver on Greenway [Updated]

4:29 PM EDT on September 15, 2015

A driver on the greenway? No way! Photo: Shelly Mossey

A driver cruised down the Hudson River Greenway Sunday afternoon, passing park enforcement patrol officers who waved him into a parking garage at Pier 40. When Streetsblog reader Shelly Mossey asked why they didn't ticket him, the officers pleaded ignorance.

Mossey was biking south on the Hudson River Greenway, on his way home to Battery Park City at about 5:45 p.m. Sunday. “I get to Houston Street, and I’m behind this minivan," he said. The driver sat through a couple of light cycles as Parks Department enforcement officers next to the greenway waved cross traffic into the parking garage at Pier 40.

Eventually, the driver saw an opening during a green light. “They just waved him through into his parking spot," Mossey said.

Mossey, a regular greenway user, recognized one of the Parks officers, who regularly hands out red light tickets to bicyclists. Mossey approached the officer to ask why he didn't issue a ticket.

“He was like, 'What minivan? They were on the bikeway? You’re kidding me!'" Mossey recalled. That's when Mossey pulled up a photo he just took on his phone. "He says, ‘Oh, there’s nothing I can do from that. I can’t do anything with a photograph.'" Rather than going after the driver he had just waved into the parking garage, the officer said he would memorize the car's New York license plate.

Frustrated by the disinterest from enforcement officers, Mossey left. "Their attitude is even more shocking than the guy driving on the bikeway," he said. "There’s no way they didn’t see him. It’s not possible."

The driver, who was heading south on the greenway, was likely on the path for a long time: The nearest street crossing is three-quarters of a mile to the north, at Gansevoort Street.

The area has a deadly history. In 2006, drunk driver Eugenio Cidron got behind the wheel after leaving a party at Chelsea Piers and drove south on the greenway until hitting cyclist Eric Ng, 22, head-on at Clarkson Street, one block north of Houston.

It's more common for drivers to get on the greenway in Midtown, especially between the NYPD tow pound at 38th Street and the Circle Line sightseeing cruises at 43rd Street. There, the greenway is riddled with curb cuts for driveways. “I see it often enough," said Mossey, who spotted a taxi on this section of the greenway last November. "Too often.”

Streetsblog checked with the Parks Department about its procedures for ticketing drivers on the greenway. The agency said its officers are trained to enforce against traffic infractions and are able to write summons within parks, using traffic stops to educate drivers on Parks rules.

Update 5:00 p.m.: A Parks Department spokesperson told Streetsblog that the driver, who was lost and took a wrong turn onto the bike path, was educated about the rules of the road and escorted off the greenway.

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