Tesla Dealership Parks All Over Red Hook’s Sidewalks, Streets And Bike Lanes

Meanwhile, the 76th Precinct promises to crack down.

Thanks to Tesla, there's no room for biking and walking on Summit Street in Red Hook. Photo: Ben Duchac
Thanks to Tesla, there's no room for biking and walking on Summit Street in Red Hook. Photo: Ben Duchac

Electric car manufacturer Tesla loves to tout its environmental street cred — but it’s just another sidewalk-stealing, bike-lane-clogging bad neighbor to pedestrians and cyclists in Red Hook.

The Van Brunt Street dealership often leaves unsold Teslas on surrounding sidewalks, neighborhood resident Ben Duchac told Streetsblog. With the curb and sidewalk filled up, the truckers who deliver the vehicles wind up parking in Summit Street’s two-way bike lane, a key segment of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, Duchac said.

Worse, the dealership encourages patrons to use Red Hook’s industrial streets for test-runs. In June, one speeding Tesla customer came around the corner of Inlay Street and Summit Street so fast that the vehicle hopped the curb and crashed into a fence.

“Basically, they use that small strip as their parking lot, both in the sense of storing and demoing cars for test drivers and also for the constant in-and-out deliveries,” said Duchac, who lives on Van Brunt Street and bikes past the dealership every day to work. He said trucks block the bike lane outside of the Tesla dealership about half the time.

The situation is so bad that Duchac brought in the big guns: Council Member Carlos Menchaca and Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White. After the June crash, White said he tried to convince the store’s managers to address the problem. They refused, arguing that they couldn’t control the actions of delivery truck drivers.

“They have been extremely bad neighbors,” White said of the dealership, which opened in 2016. “Apparently, they are telling people just to open it up where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. [It’s] completely inappropriate, especially right next to the greenway.”

On Tuesday, Duchac took his complaints to Twitter — and managed to get the attention of the 76th Precinct, which was on the scene by the afternoon.

“This is the first time it came on our radar,” 76th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Gonzalez told Streetblog. Gonzalez said he spoke to store management and told them the illegal parking has to stop.

Of course, Red Hook isn’t the only neighborhood where car dealerships treat precious sidewalk space as an on-street showroom. In fact, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district faces similar challenges on Northern Boulevard, has proposed legislation that would let the city revoke the licenses of dealerships who receive at least two parking violations in a single year.

“It’s never a good thing. It’s not something we want,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just not a good look for us, and it’s just not safe.”

Streetsblog reached out to the dealership and Tesla headquarters for comment, but did not receive a response.

  • Reader

    Two words: Jersey barriers. Enforcement is fine, but without physical protection Tesla will keep doing this and someone will get hurt.

  • Joe R.

    Elon Musk will use his low-cost tunneling technology, store the cars in tunnels, avoid traffic with them, and everything will be just fine.

  • AnoNYC

    Someone Twitter Elon.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    This has been happening for awhile. Why is there no improvement in the design given this situation?

  • William Lawson

    “Anyone who complains about this is a pedo” – Elon Musk, Twitter, just now, probably.

  • JohnBrownForPresident

    because we have a piece of trash mayor with a horrible transit plan who’s out jerking off PR reps about “green cities of tomorrow” and ignoring the streets carnage in his own backyard.

  • motorock

    Why weren’t the cars towed? Motorcycle dealerships had their vehicles towed immediately for committing same offence. Plain discrimination. Even this site doesn’t talk how much motorcycles can help reduce congestion considering how cycling is limited to a very small demographic-mostly Manhattan folks or those living close to Manhattan, usually privileged and affluent white folks. Motorcycles and powered two-wheelers including throttle-assist ebikes officer a better solution than bicycles for a larger variety of people. Let’s get rid of these blinders and talk about real viable solutions.

  • com63

    Was the person who crashed that car in June doing a test drive?

    Only Tesla would open a car dealership without a parking lot!

  • BubbaJoe123

    “Gonzalez said he spoke to store management and told them the illegal parking has to stop.”

    That’s very nice. Would have been better to send a couple of tow trucks over. That would have sent the message much more effectively.

    “They refused, arguing that they couldn’t control the actions of delivery truck drivers.”

    Sure they can. Tell the drivers “you park there, we’re not accepting delivery of the vehicles.”

  • Andrew

    Why weren’t the cars towed? Motorcycle dealerships had their vehicles towed immediately for committing same offence. Plain discrimination.

    I don’t want to see cars or motorcycles on sidewalks.

    Even this site doesn’t talk how much motorcycles can help reduce congestion considering how cycling is limited to a very small demographic-mostly Manhattan folks or those living close to Manhattan, usually privileged and affluent white folks.

    If you think only the rich ride bicycles inn New York, just wait until you find out who drives cars.

  • Candy M

    Plaza Auto Mall on Nostrand Avenue Between Ave M & N has taken over the city streets also. They even have the audacity to call it “Mall”. It is a major thoroughfare. So important that the MTA made it one of the first “Select Bus Routes” in the 5 boroughs. Plaza Auto Mall causes major traffic jams constantly. It is impossible for a private tax paying citizen (who paid for the streets, to begin with) to park their auto on the street EVER.

  • motorock

    If you think only the rich ride bicycles in New York, just wait until you find out who drives cars.

    Doesn’t take away from the fact that a majority of cyclists who can commute to work everyday are definitely privileged people.

    The car drivers (not all of them drive Teslas) are still more diverse and not necessarily born privileged. Maybe you are, so you snicker?
    I do want cars to be tolled heavily though- esp those single occupant cars. In fact I firmly believe that SUVs with one occupant should definitely be tolled heavily and then we can work our way down. Cheap alternatives like motorcycles, scooters and long-range ebikes should be exempted from any tolls and encouraged with various measures. This will serve a larger group than cycling bros or spandex douchebags- far far more practical. I cycle a lot myself and I know its limitations.

    BUT there should definitely be a program in place to help the less privileged who need a car or something to commute because of a valid reason like living in a transit desert or some disability. Gentrification is a real problem and I have seen complete neighborhoods change within a year and I feel bad for families that have to move with their kids to a district where the schools aren’t as good that just perpetuates the same discriminatory cycle all over again. We can’t ignore real social issues or facts or science and be myopic about goals for a city.

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