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Placard Crackdown Begins! (Well, Actually, No it Doesn’t!)

12:10 PM EST on January 6, 2020

All the vehicles in this picture are parked illegally in the Jay Street no-standing (placard abuse) zone. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Placard crackdown? Not in Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City or Lower Manhattan at least.

The usual places where cops, firefighters, court officers and other so-called public servants illegally park their personal vehicles were the usual disorderly mess on Monday morning, the first day of an alleged NYPD crackdown on rogue parkers that is supposed to target 50 placard hotspots over the next six months.

In Downtown Brooklyn, all the illegal spots on Schermerhorn Street near the Transit Bureau 30 substation, and along Jay Street between Willoughby and Tillary streets, were occupied as they always are by placard-toting cars (photo above).

On Jay Street placards included:

    • Six New York State Court Officers
    • One FDNY “trade union affiliate”
    • Two DA "official business," though the borough in question was never identified.
    • Two FDNY “active uniformed EMT's, paramedics and fire inspectors” placards.
    • Three FDNY "active firefighter."
    • Two placards from precincts nowhere near Jay Street.
    • One MTA reflective vest (theft vest).
    • One Correction Department placard
    • One NYPD baseball cap.
    • One NYPD "Civilian handbook."

All were illegally parked. Five cars, plus one police truck, were illegally parked on the block between Johnson and Tillary streets, which is marked as no standing because it is a key bus and bike route to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges (baseball cap guy and civilian handbook guy didn't care).

cops on schermerhorn best
Police employee-owned vehicles fill the bike lane on Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The Cadillac in the foreground has many moving violations on its record. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

The illegal parking creates congestion and unsafe conditions along key roads all over the city, but failure to crack down on illegal placard parking endangers the public in one other crucial way: police, fire and other agency placard perps have been shown to drive far more recklessly than the general public. So if the city fails to crack down on this illegal parking, it is in essence encouraging these drivers to commute to work by car, which endangers the public.

Of the 22 cars that we spotted illegally parked in Downtown Brooklyn on Monday morning, six had multiple dangerous moving violations on their record. Only four had spotless parking and camera-violation records.

The cop's Cadillac illegally parked on Schermerhorn has quite a long record of vehicular offenses.
The cop's Cadillac illegally parked on Schermerhorn has quite a long record of vehicular offenses.

Here's how those six cars break down:

    • A Cadillac XT5 with an NYPD placard has 19 speeding tickets and one red light ticket on its record since late 2014 (right).
    • A New York State Court officer has been nabbed 17 times for speeding and twice for running red lights since 2016.
    • A Correction Department placard holder has 112 parking tickets, plus 11 speeding and five red light tickets since 2015.
    • A cop from the 73rd Precinct in distant Brownsville collected four speeding tickets in just eight months last year.
    • An FDNY union rep and an FDNY "active" firefighter each has been caught speeding twice by cameras.

Are these the kinds of people we want to encourage to drive to work by giving them free parking?

Of course, Downtown Brooklyn isn't the only placard crime zone that avoided the supposed NYPD crackdown this morning. Residents of Long Island City and Lower Manhattan also complained of no police enforcement.

We reached out to City Hall, the NYPD and the Department of Transportation and will update this story if we hear back.

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