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Bicycle Infrastructure

UPDATE! A Single Car is Ruining the City’s New Ninth Street Bike Lane

11:29 AM EDT on August 27, 2018

On Monday morning, this car was still blocking the new Ninth Street bike lane. Photos: Gersh Kuntzman

UPDATE | There's only one thing wrong with the city's new Ninth Street protected bike lane: the operator of this Subaru.

And the NYPD says there's nothing it can do about it until, perhaps, Friday.

Park Slope cyclists were flying over their handlebars (metaphorically) this weekend when they spotted this vehicle blocking the just-installed bike path between Seventh and Eighth avenues.
Poetic justice? No, just justice.
Poetic justice? No, just justice.
File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Some of the ire likely stemmed from a sign on the back window that read, "This car predates the bike lane. It was parked here before the city put in the lane (check the paint). Please be understanding."

On late Monday morning, the car was still there, albeit shorn of its self-asserted right to park in a bike lane. But it had new adornments: a $115 ticket issued Sunday and a Vision Zero sticker reminding the driver that it is never legal to park in a bike lane.

Streetsblog ran the plate through HowsMyDrivingNY and discovered 31 parking violations. Whoever operates this vehicle is a serious recidivist.

The car was reported to 311 by this reporter at 10:36 a.m., but 90 minutes later, I received a notification from 311 that "police action was not necessary."

police action not necessary 1206
screenshot of car still there

Assuming the car had been towed, I headed to confirm that the NYPD had, indeed, done its job. No such luck. As you can see by the timestamped photo below, at 2:03 p.m. today, the car is still there.

As luck, er, good reporting, would have it, an NYPD tow truck showed up just as I was leaving a note on the car. The tow truck driver told me there was nothing she could do because the car was sheltered inside the protected bike lane (ironically, in the same way that cyclists are supposed to be).

She put another $115 ticket on the windshield and said she couldn't do anything until Friday, when street cleaning rules go into effect at 11:30 a.m. and all the other cars move.

I told her I'd be back for the exciting conclusion of the saga.

She did not express excitement.

A neighbor said he felt bad for the car owner, suggesting that the city could have warned drivers earlier that the Ninth Street bike lane was going to be painted last week. But every other car owner found the time or had the inclination to move. Residents were given several days warning.

A second ticket in as many days.
A second ticket in as many days. Note the idle tow truck in the background.
The Ninth Street blocker, as seen on Monday when a tow truck couldn't get access, is still there. And it'll be there until Saturday, its owner now admits. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Meanwhile in Queens, some cyclists are noticing the same pattern: a single car driver simply doesn't care that the paint on the street has changed. This photo below was taken over the weekend, but Twitter user @radlerkoenigin says the car was still there as of Monday morning.

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