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

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

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

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.
screenshot of car 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.

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.

  • Jeff

    Honestly, I would be “understanding” of someone who ended up in this position, if it weren’t for the fact that they obviously came out to their car, saw the situation, and instead of just moving the car put a note on the car asking for “understanding.” That’s just weird.

  • JarekFA

    That car on 9th street had a ticket as of Saturday afternoon.

  • qrt145

    I don’t understand why NYC is so meek when it comes to towing illegally parked vehicles. In ten years I remember seeing maybe two instances of NYPD tow trucks in action. I’ve lived in cities where seeing police tow trucks is a nearly daily occurrence.

  • Elizabeth F
  • J

    When the city resurfaces a street, they don’t simply go around a car that is in the way, they tow it somewhere else, so the street resurfacing is consistent and complete. If they cared about quality bike lanes, they’d do the same when installing them.

  • Bicyclists should carry keys around.

    To get into their apartment of course.

  • Simon Phearson

    Personally, I make sure that my bike lock is always handy, because you never know when you might need to lock up far from transit or home.

  • JR

    But he’s just dropping off groceries…. LOL

  • vnm

    Jeez! Based on the fact that the solid white lines are broken by this specific car, it looks like the car was actually physically there when the DOT crews came by create the lane, and somehow as that was happening it didn’t get towed.

  • JR

    I like how the last one is a NJ plate in Queens and has just been sitting there. It should be reported to the state – probably committing both registration and insurance fraud.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Half the associates of our state legislators are probably committing registration and insurance fraud.

    Our local Dems probably think cheaper insurance is the same as illegal booze during prohibition — something for the smart people to have and the rest to do without.

  • Driver

    It may have been put there by an unlicensed friend or relative. Many people go away in August.

  • KeNYC2030

    I’m sure this qualifies as a “de Blasio stop.”

  • Daphna

    I hope that red car owner, who has 31 parking violations, plus 2 new ones for blocking the bike lane, is also fined for obstructing the thermoplast installation. That car owner should have to pay for the cost of separately installing the 20′ of thermoplast that was prevented during the normal installation.

  • Daphna

    Good point! The DOT should be able to tow those away who are blocking installation!!!! Seems like common sense. Film crews tow cars away….

  • Joe R.

    If I were riding past this jerk, I might be tempted to have a little oops. “Sorry that my handlebars scratched your car, but I lost control of the bike trying to get past you.”

  • BrandonWC

    I’m much less sympathetic than I might otherwise be since alternate side parking is Friday morning on this block and the “Street Work No Parking” signs were out on Thursday night. So the car owner either didn’t move their car for street cleaning on Friday or did and ignored the signs about the street work.

  • qrt145

    Just stopped for 30 seconds to drop off the kids.

  • Andrew

    It isn’t just bike lanes. Plenty of crosswalk markings have corners missing for the same reason.

  • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

    > Film crews tow cars away….

    Because films generate huge money directly for the city. I guess the indirect cost savings of bicycle lanes don’t matter to the city or many of its agencies.

  • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

    It took like two or three months since striping 26th and 29th in the city before curb parked car owners / operators were compelled to comply by DOT and the cops and to have it painted green. Ffs it’s not even fully completed; slow as fuck.

    Neither is the southern end of 7th Ave / 7th Ave S.

  • eve_v

    Why wasn’t this car towed???

  • Reader

    In a perfect piece of irony, the owner is the editor of a health and fitness magazine.

  • brooklynest1989


    Not to mention posting stuff like this. Maybe she needs to get it framed and hang it in her apartment as a reminder.

  • The NYPD cares about film crews because they make cop shows that spin them as heroes. They don’t particularly care about those of us on bikes.

  • qrt145

    Does the NYPD do the towing for film shoots? I was under the impression that it was done by private tow trucks.


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