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Lord Almighty! Now Adams Defends Deadly Double-Parking — As Long as the Driver is a Church-Goer!

6:10 PM EST on January 23, 2020

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on a Citi Bike . File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

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Brooklyn Borough President Adams defended drivers who double-park — a common, yet mostly illegal, practice that forces pedestrians and cyclists into traffic — if they do so while going to pray at church.

Amid the ongoing fallout from his divisive, anti-newcomer comments on Monday, the Beep who had said recent transplants from Iowa don't care enough about New York communities said that people who illegally double-park should get a free pass if they're attending religious services.

Newcomers, Adams said in a NY1 interview with Errol Louis on Wednesday night, are "calling the police because there’s double-parking at a church, saying too much noise is coming from the church."

Adams — who has billed himself as a “break-the-car culture elected official” despite refusing to tell his staffers not to park on public sidewalks — called his original remarks against out-of-staters a “gaffe," but then inserted his foot back into his mouth by excusing motorists who choose to put other road users in danger, and by defending all the cash he's raked in from the real estate industry for his campaign for mayor. 

Many critics and safe-street activists deemed him unfit to hold higher office for justifying something so sacrilege as double-parking.

And whether the Almighty chooses to overlook someone's egregious parking practices when deciding to send them to heaven or hell, here on earth, those decisions have life or death consequences.

In 2018, a cab blocking the bike lane led to the death of cyclist Madison Lyden, who was run over by the driver of a garbage truck after she was forced to swerve around a cab that suddenly pulled into the bike lane on Central Park West.

The cab was not double-parked, but Streetsblog reported during a rally the week after Lyden was killed that at least a dozen cabs had pulled into the same bike lane during the event — many of them double-parked next to other cars at the curb.

Seconds after the rally to mourn the death of Madison Lyden, a cab double-parked in the bike lane in the exact manner that led to her death a week earlier. It happened a dozen times during the brief event.
Seconds after the rally to mourn the death of Madison Lyden, a cab double-parked in the bike lane in the exact manner that led to her death a week earlier. It happened a dozen times during the brief event.

And it’s not just Lyden whose life has either been lost or put more at risk because of illegally parked vehicles, or vehicles  — emergency response times shot up 25 seconds, or 8.5 percent, since 2015 because of all of the congestion on the road caused in part by double- and illegally parked cars, Streetsblog reported in September.

And elsewhere in Brooklyn, the Department of Transportation is pushing ahead with its plans to speed up buses along Church Avenue — one of the deadliest roads in the borough because of rampant speeding, and illegal and double parking, which reduces visibility and leads to crashes and fatalities.

Congregants of a Church Avenue synagogue, like Adams, defended their need for free and illegal car storage because of their need to worship, but representatives for DOT pushed back, and said the only way to make the dangerous corridor safer and more efficient for everyone is by eliminating parking.

And citywide, DOT is also trying to reduce the hazards of double-parked delivery trucks by eliminating car storage along a dozen residential strips in all five boroughs as part of its new so-called Residential Loading Zone Evaluation.

Adams’s comments on double-parking come just two days after Rep. Adriano Espaillat said that bike lanes were a symbol of gentrification on par with Starbucks and high-end sushi, a remark he then struggled to defend in a chat with Streetsblog.

Adams's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his latest controversial comments.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the details of how cyclist Madison Lyden was killed — the driver of a livery cab pulled into the bike lane, it was not double-parked. 

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