Con Ed Staff Caught Illegally Parking on Sidewalk By Queensboro Bridge

Chris Martin walks around illegally parked cars belonging to Con Ed workers on the way to his job at a TV shoot for Blue Bloods. Photo: Cristina Furlong

Cars belonging to Con Edison employees assigned to a project on the Queensboro Bridge are squeezing pedestrians into the roadbed as workers illegally park on the sidewalk. On both the east and west sides of Vernon Boulevard at Queens Plaza South, near Queensbridge Park and Queensbridge Houses, sidewalks are being used as private parking for bridge workers. When confronted, Con Ed said it will tell employees to stop parking on the sidewalk.

Yesterday morning, people were stepping off the sidewalk on their way to work. “This is ridiculous, people should feel safer here,” said Chris Martin, 24, as he walked in the road to his job on a film shoot in Queensbridge Park.

This placard
This placard does not actually confer the right to park on the sidewalk. Photo: Cristina Furlong

“I feel that it’s very unsafe here, the streets are busy and people run red lights,” said Frankie Cane, 28, who works south of the bridge at Plant Specialists. “Every day, I walk this strip to get lunch… and it just isn’t safe.”

Con Ed workers have been placing their orange safety vests on the dashboards of their cars, and according to neighbors, no ticketing has occurred. The area is under the patrol of the 108th Precinct. Calls to the precinct were referred to its community affairs division, which did not respond.

One car displayed a DOT placard. The agency confirmed via email that all the sidewalk parking, including by its staff, is illegal, since “stipulations do not allow for parking on sidewalks and city highway rules dictate DOT construction permits do not allow permit parking for private vehicles.”

Con Edison replied in a statement: “We’ve been doing repair work on transmission cables under the bridge and will inform our employees not to park on the sidewalk areas. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Con Ed employee vehicles parked on the West Side of Vernon Boulevard. Photo: Cristina Furlong
Con Ed employee vehicles parked on the West Side of Vernon Boulevard. Photo: Cristina Furlong
  • Bernard Finucane

    This is why you put bollards on the edge of sidewalks.

  • J

    We need to put bollards in front of all NYPD station sidewalks, since it’s clear they won’t enforce the law against themselves, and De Blasio is too chicken shit to actually whip them into shape.

  • Jesse

    That image is perfect. “Good Luck” pretty much sums up de blasii’s approach to bike/ped safety under vision zero.

  • Joe R.

    Also put them in front of all car dealerships (and on the sides of driveways). They’re just as bad as the NYPD.

  • Joe R.

    DeBlasio is out to lunch on this. He apparently considers going to Israel more important than consoling the families of the recent victims of traffic violence. Last I checked any kind of travel isn’t in the Mayor’s job description. If I were Mayor I would intentionally make a point of not setting foot past city limits unless I was on vacation.

  • jooltman

    I’m going to get an orange safety vest to wrap around my handlebars and assume I won’t be ticketed for anything.

  • Sidewalk parking and Vision Zero are incompatible. The mayor has to end it. The City Council should up fines tremendously. Also, get ticketing for parking violations out of the hands of NYPD. Make it a division of DOT and perhaps some of the corruption will disappear.

  • BBnet3000

    I’ve tried reporting sidewalk parkers dozens of times via 311 and the cops refuse to ticket them. Not one ticket written.

  • WalkingNPR

    Nah–won’t work. Everyone knows that no one who has anywhere important to go–like work–takes a bike there.

  • Pursuant

    So are the Con Ed cars taking the spots where the film shoot wants to put their trucks?

    Hey pot, I’d like you to meet kettle.

  • J_12

    parking tickets used to be written by a non-nypd agency (the old “brownies”) but there were so many incidents where people got confrontational and even violent that the function was absorbed by the police as a safety matter.
    I agree that this function should not be performed by police, especially given that the police themselves are often the worst offenders, but whatever agency does it needs to have real teeth. I think some combination of technology (remote ticketing instead of writing a piece of paper and sticking on windshield), plus more towing/impounding for violations like sidewalk parking, might do the trick.

  • urbanresidue

    No, the NYPD is much worse; the car dealerships are just another symptom of the NYPD. The sidewalk parking at dealerships would disappear almost overnight if the police actually started to enforce the law with routine tickets and occasionally towing offending vehicles. It only happens because the NYPD deliberately allows it.

  • Alex

    When I think of things about NYC that haven’t changed since the dog days of the 1980s I usually go to bike thefts, the post office, and the DMV. Though lately I have been thinking of things like parking where the supremacy of the automobile really remains entrenched in our cultural fabric. We have redefined the way we interact with our streets, parks, and open space as the city has gotten safer, but with 1 million more residents, a transit system in decline, and a car culture that stubbornly remains I can’t help but think that our city looks like an incomplete Robert Moses vision.

  • Matthias

    “Police action was not necessary.”
    “Those responsible for the condition were gone.”
    “Police observed no evidence of the violation.”

  • urbanresidue

    Last one I got: “UNABLE TO GET TO JOB.”

    Like, ever? They’re there every. single. day…

  • Joe R.

    Add the condition of the streets to your list. I’m still hitting the same potholes in the same locations as 30 years ago, even though in the interim the street may have been repaved half a dozen times. Apparently the concept of fixing the underlying conditions which cause potholes in the first place is alien to the people responsible for the streets. NYC should rebuild every single street as they come due for resurfacing. Rebuild would mean dig down past the frost line, install an 18-inch thick concrete sub-roadbed, install utility trenches with removable covers so ConEd never needs to break up the street again. Top that with a surface layer of very hard concrete. Make sure all this concrete is liberally reinforced. Forget using asphalt at all. It’s garbage. If we rebuild our roads like this, my guess is we might not need to touch anything until the 22nd century.

  • Seth Rosenblum

    Oh, I like this idea. Just tell them it’s “because terrorism”. They’ll love it.

  • mattkime

    I’ve ben through that. contact community board members and city council members referencing the 311 complaints. i’ve had luck in such matters after they’ve been escalated by community officials.

    …yes, its annoying but its better to keep at it than to give up.

  • Alex

    How they haven’t come up with an alternative to this system is completely beyond me. Street condition was one of the bigger gripes drivers had with Bloomberg and yet it was not in his sustainability plan to explore things like permeable pavement to reduce the CSO problem. I wonder if someone has cracked the freezing problem. Maybe combine it with anti-freeze pavement? That probably makes no sense, but whomever figures this out has a lock on the future of urban paving.

  • Joe R.

    The Romans figured it out already about 2 millenia ago. Dig well below the frost line, provide layers of gravel for drainage (or clay pipes with holes on top). On top of this build a thick subroadbed (the Romans used stone, we could use semi-porous reinforced concrete). Finally put on a very hard wear layer which is canted and has drainage areas on the sides. Again, the Romans used stone but modern roads could use high tensile strength reinforced concrete.

    The major problem here, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, is we just don’t want to spend the money to build properly. A second issue is that many profit off the status quo of repeatedly repairing the same potholes. In my opinion, I think a different financial model is needed more because that’s the primary cause of the problem, not lack of know-how building roads which don’t crack. Pay companies x amount of dollars per year for a road which is up to standards. Have the city check each lane of each street a few times per year with monitoring equipment. If the street passes the standards, all is well. If not, the company in charge of that segment of street doesn’t get paid until it fixes the problem. This will give these companies a financial incentive to rebuild any segment of street they’re in charge of to the highest possible standards so no maintenance needs to be performed for decades. In effect, by paying companies to keep streets in good repair, instead of to fix them, we’ve changed the financial model to one where good streets are more profitable than bad ones. Right now, the opposite is the case, with predictable results. And it goes without saying that utilities must be relocated to a utility trench or tunnel. ConEd repeatedly breaking up streets is a major source of our poor pavement.

    As an aside, my brother mentioned snow plows as another problem. He noted some sections of highway were all chewed up after a winter with heavy snow. The snow plow operators should be fined or fired if they operate the plow improperly, thereby destroying the pavement. It wouldn’t surprise my given the way this city operates if road repair companies gave snow plow operators kick-backs for intentionally ruining pavement.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    its corruption as a root cause

    we Špend more doing it the Sloppy way

  • LuisD

    How does towing work in NYC? Couldn’t you call towers to pick them up?

  • neroden

    The real problem is that NYPD are filled with crooks. Form a real police department, start arresting the NYPD for their crimes, and the problems will be solved very very quickly.

  • neroden

    The core problem: NYPD is a nest of criminals.

    Arrest the criminals in blue gang colors, you’ll fix the problem.


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