Despite Many Calls to 311, Abandoned Car Sits and Sits and Sits in DOT Bike Lane

Four months and counting (and the cops who pulled in on Thursday were only getting coffee). Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Four months and counting (and the cops who pulled in on Thursday were only getting coffee). Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Everything you need to know about our broken city government is sitting, abandoned, in an illegal parking spot in one of the city’s newest bike lanes.

At the corner of President Street and Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn, you’ll find a junked Lincoln taxi, which has been sitting in a “No Stopping Anytime” space for at least four months (judging by the 16 parking tickets, issued basically every seven days). Many people have reported the car to 311 and yet there it sits. And sits.

This is what an abandoned car looks like in city records. Why does it take so long for city agencies to do anything. Photo:
This is what an abandoned car looks like in city records. Why does it take so long for city agencies to do anything. Photo:

That’s bad enough, but you may remember that Fourth Avenue is home to a brand new protected bike lane, which the Department of Transportation recently painted.

Painted, that is, except for the spot where the junked car has been sitting.

The DOT had a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on that very bike lane on Nov. 8. And yet the car is still sitting there.

The Department of Sanitation and the NYPD have been alerted about the car repeatedly via 311. And yet the car is still sitting there.

So Streetsblog has had enough. We stopped by the car on Thursday and fired off an email to every agency that might possibly be involved in this colossal clusterfuck. We asked:

  • The DOT how it could literally celebrate a bike lane with an abandoned car blocking it.
  • The Sanitation Department why it has not removed the car.
  • The Taxi & Limousine Commission why it hasn’t done anything.
  • City Hall why the 311 system hasn’t led to the car’s removal (and why 311 does not let the public upload photos of dangerous situations like cars blocking bike lanes).
  • Council Member Brad Lander to see if he was upset.
  • The NYPD why it hasn’t done anything.

The only agency that initially got back to us was the NYPD, which said only, “The 78th Precinct is aware of the condition and are handling the situation.”

But the agency declined to answer follow-up questions, so we can’t tell you what “handling” the “situation” — which has been a “situation” for months — means.

And City Hall got back to us with a timeline of all the 311 reports about the car — and it turns out that the NYPD was alerted to the abandoned vehicle for the first time on Sept. 28. The Police Department was notified again on Oct. 11, Oct. 14, Oct. 27 (twice), Nov. 7 and Nov. 10 — and in none of those seven occasions did the agency do anything to remove the vehicle (though once, a cop added a ticket to the windshield).

The Sanitation Department was notified once about the vehicle, on Oct. 14, but took no action because the car still has license plates on it. A spokesperson said the agency does not tow away cars unless they are both damaged and do not have plates. If it has a plate, it’s NYPD’s responsibility. One thing worth noting: The DSNY has a lot of crap to deal with — between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, there were 31,776 service requests for abandoned vehicles, though some are duplicates. Many end up under the NYPD’s purview because of the license plate issue.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission also got back to us by late afternoon. The agency said the TLC license expired on July 17.

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