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Car Culture

City To End Parking at Brooklyn Borough Hall — Once The Beep Leaves Office

Pols may no longer park their cars on the Brooklyn Borough Hall plaza, as these cars were in 2019. A new movement aims to defeat the Brooklyn machine and the car culture it fosters. Photo: Julianne Cuba

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Cars will finally be booted from the public plaza outside Brooklyn Borough Hall by the end of next year, the city said Tuesday — just long enough for Borough President Adams to enjoy the perks of his illegal parking until his time in office is over.

A spokeswoman for the Parks Department said the agency will "discontinue parking on the plaza at the end of 2021," which, if true, would end a decades-old tradition of Borough Hall staffers parking on various sidewalks and seating areas around the former Brooklyn City Hall building — a practice that Adams has long said he was simply following because his predecessors did it, too.

Parks spokeswoman Crystal Howard suggested that the city will find other parking spaces for borough officials, who apparently do not take advantage of Downtown Brooklyn's eight subway lines — five of which literally stop in the basement of Borough Hall.

“We are working with the borough president to address the parking needs of his staff," she said.

The announcement comes nearly five months after the Beep hosted a town hall on rampant placard abuse in Downtown Brooklyn, where city officials, including those in the Beep’s office, park anywhere they want simply by sticking a city-issued placard, or pretty much anything, on their dashboard.

Over the summer, someone used an orange cone and a piece of paper to create a Borough Hall parking space for what appeared to be Adams's car, whose plate has racked up 10 speed camera and red light tickets since 2018 — including one in October, after the September town hall. That number of tickets, in such a short time frame, would allow the car to be seized under pending legislation from Council Member Brad Lander, an Adams ally.

Now, the orange cone has been replaced with a more official placard on its dashboard — noting “Brooklyn Official Business Vehicle Identification." But the permit was only renewed for 2020, according to Adams's spokesman Jonah Allon, who said the car is an "agency vehicle" and doesn't belong to any particular person that works in Borough Hall.

At the September meeting, Adams had said he'd bar his staff from parking in the park outside Borough Hall if others in the city stopped abusing their placards first — and that the only employees he allows to park there anyway are women, who need to "respond late at night." That's when honchos at the Parks Department said they'd review the decades-old agreement that Adams and his predecessor Marty Markowitz claimed gave them the right to seize public land for car storage.

In the meantime, locals remained fed up with the illegal parking outside Borough Hall — even after the alleged citywide crackdown on placard abuse started earlier this month.

At least one vigilante took matters into his or her own hands by pushing planters — meant to discourage skateboarding on Borough Hall's steps — up against one of the cars parked on the sidewalk outside the building.

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