If de Blasio Was Serious About Ending Placard Abuse, This Serial Parking Violator Would Have Stopped By Now

Without real enforcement and a reduction in placards, it's just whack-a-mole.

The illegally parked blue Mini has a ticket on the windshield. The illegally parked city-owned Prius, sporting a Human Resources Administration placard on the dashboard, does not.
The illegally parked blue Mini has a ticket on the windshield. The illegally parked city-owned Prius, sporting a Human Resources Administration placard on the dashboard, does not.

Here’s more evidence that Mayor de Blasio’s “crackdown” on placard abuse by city employees hasn’t made a difference.

In October Streetsblog reported that placard-holders were blocking sight lines at a freshly striped crosswalk on Seaman Avenue at W. 214th Street in Inwood. The crosswalk is adjacent to a new no standing zone that was intended to make it easier for drivers and people crossing the street to see each other, but was quickly commandeered by city workers who often left vehicles there overnight.

One of those people was a Human Resources Administration employee in a city-owned Prius who treated the daylighting zone like a reserved spot until Streetsblog queried the agency about the staffer’s illegal parking habits.

Early weekday morning on Park Terrace West …
Early weekday morning on Park Terrace West.

“We expect HRA employees that have City cars assigned to them to adhere to all parking rules and regulations,” HRA spokesperson Lourdes Centeno told Streetsblog in an email. “We have investigated the matter and instructed the employee to park the vehicle in designated parking areas.”

If, as Centeno said, this HRA staffer was told to stop abusing his or her placard, it didn’t take. While the Prius hasn’t been spotted lately in the crosswalk at Seaman and 214 — clearing the space for other placard abusers — on any given day the car can be found in other nearby no parking zones.

… and another.
Same spot, different day.

After Streetsblog broke the story last spring that de Blasio had reversed Bloomberg-era reforms by reissuing tens of thousands of placards to teachers and other Department of Education employees, the mayor promised to rein in permit abuse.

“I remind anyone who thinks that they can be cute and use one of these placards in an inappropriate way: You’re really running the risk of very big penalties and there will be consistent enforcement,” de Blasio said in May.

prius-isham-1
Switching it up: A beautiful Saturday on Seaman Avenue at Isham Street, at a no-parking zone by the entrance to Inwood Hill Park, where the car is sometimes stowed for days at a time.

Consistent NYPD enforcement has not materialized in the seven months since de Blasio announced his crackdown, however.

The problem, of course, is far more pervasive than a single HRA staffer. Police and purported friends of police remain the biggest abusers of placards, both official and fake.

But this case nicely illustrates the limits of de Blasio’s crackdown. A placard abuser can be publicly shamed into abandoning an illegal parking spot, but the same vehicle owner will keep using the perk illegally somewhere else. Meanwhile, other placard abusers fill the vacuum at the first illegal spot. NYPD isn’t going to stop them, and city agencies aren’t policing their own either. Without real enforcement and a reduction in placards, it’s just whack-a-mole.

Last week we sent Centeno multiple photos of the HRA Prius parked illegally on Seaman Avenue and one block east on Park Terrace West. We asked who is responsible for making sure HRA employees do not abuse their city parking permits. Centeno did not respond.

  • J

    Enforcement: it’s gonna be yuge! We’re going to have the most beautiful, the most magnificent enforcement the world has ever seen.

  • Announcing a crackdown and then not following through is worse than never having announced one in the first place. It makes de Blasio look weak (he is) and breeds immense amounts of cynicism about his commitment to this and other issues.

    Compare how he abandoned this “crackdown” before it even really began to the many times he’s now defended the crackdown on e-bike users and you can see that de Blasio is no progressive.

  • Elizabeth F

    The only way to enforce is to create a parking enforcement agency that is completely separate from NYPD, or any other City department.

  • Joe R.

    Tow the illegally parked cars to an impound lot for the first and second offenses. Third offense, the car goes to the crusher.

  • NYCBK123

    Keep filing the 311 reports in the app. Don’t let up until they give up!

  • c2check

    I basically read BdB’s “threat” of enforcement in a Trump voice

    “I remind anyone who thinks that they can be cute and use one of these placards in an inappropriate way: You’re really running the risk of very big penalties and there will be consistent enforcement”

    “And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it — if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.'”

    (not to make a false equivalence between harassing people/hate crimes and illegal parking)

  • walks bikes drives

    I asked a traffic agent on Friday why he didn’t ticket a Mercedes that had an NYPD vest in the windshield. He said “because it might be an undercover cop.”

  • Lonniann curusso

    Blasio does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR THIS CITY AT ALL.. There are more killings, robberies, muggings, stabbings, etc. Especially on the trains. Do you ever see him once just once on TV talking about this? NO WAY!!!!!! He is just for himself saving his 2 houses that were in forclosure & collecting on all the freebies he can. He is one of the worst mayors that ever took office.

  • Toddster

    They’re practically the same people – from De Blasio’s alternative facts about ebikes to his penchant to blaming the media anytime something doesn’t go in his favor. Now, just as Trump’s western land policies are wont to do, De Blasio is giving away the peoples land for an already privileged class to further exploit.

  • MyBrooklyn1

    He said “because it might be an undercover cop.” LOL…system is corrupt and run by criminals

  • MyBrooklyn1

    Keep filing the 311 reports in the app. Don’t let up until they give up!
    ….Only fools believe in fairy tales

  • NYCBK123

    🙂

    I’ve gotten results with it. My guess is that the perpetrator is not punished but told by someone to move their vehicle. It’s not perfect but if you make enough noise you make it difficult for them to break the law.

  • JK

    Parking enforcement used to be part of DOT. The union representing parking agents clamored to be part of NYPD because their agents were getting beat up too much — including by cops — and they felt they’d be safer as part of PD. Better solution would be using automated parking enforcement scanners mounted on vehicles, which are used all over world, and used by private vendors under contract to NYC Dept of Finance for booting scofflaws. Scanner vehicles can drive 15mph and are part of automated system that can automatically generate tickets and mail them from HQ. NYC did some demos under Bloomberg, but never used it. Super successful tech elsewhere. My guess is that City Hall would fear backlash of automated system that tickets cops, judges, FDNY and other uncivil servants.

  • Elizabeth F

    I didn’t know that tech existed, it sounds like a really good idea.

  • AnoNYC

    Violent crime is down in this city and any crime increase or spikes are the result of numerous interconnected factors, not who is in office.

  • AnoNYC

    Yes, an “undercover” cop would place an NYPD vest in the windshield. Head smack!

    It’s a personal vehicle, and police do not use their personal vehicles for undercover or plain clothes operations!

    NYPD Traffic is part of the problem. All they should do is drive smart cars with license plate readers to ticket every plate that is not in the system as city owned.

  • AnoNYC

    Agreed. There are already a good number of NYPD vehicles mounted with license plate readers. Eliminate the placards and link city vehicles and personal vehicles with the privilege to a database.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Streets around NYC schools are about to get more chaotic.

Reversing Bloomberg Reforms, City Will Reissue Tens of Thousands of Teacher Parking Placards

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Get ready for a lot more car traffic and illegal parking around New York City schools. The de Blasio administration is returning to a system that enables widespread abuse of parking privileges, with the Department of Education agreeing to hand out parking placards to any school employee who has a car and requests one, reversing reforms instituted during the Bloomberg administration.