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STREETSBLOG GETS ACTION: After Nine Reports, NYPD Finally Removes Abandoned Taxi from DOT Bike Lane

12:07 AM EST on November 13, 2020

That was then (left) and this is now. Photos: Gersh Kuntzman

She's gone!

how sb covered the abandoned taxi
How we covered the story.
How we covered the story.

The abandoned taxi that had been gathering parking tickets and repeated complaints to 311 for more than three months — and even had a protected bike lane built around it — was finally removed by authorities late on Thursday, hours after Streetsblog reported on the failure of multiple agencies to tow away the jilted jalopy.

The NYPD had been alerted to the classless clunker at the corner of President Street and Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn by 311 callers on at least seven occasions — Sept. 28, Oct. 11, Oct. 14, Oct. 27 (twice), Nov. 7 and Nov. 10 — but cops had never done anything to remove the vehicle (though once, a cop added a ticket to the windshield).

Finally on Thursday, Streetsblog demanded answers for why the NYPD had repeatedly "closed" each 311 report even though the car was in a "No stopping anytime" area and had been reported abaonded. Four times, the NYPD closed the case saying, "The Police Department responded to the complaint and took action to fix the condition," which was simply not true. Two other times, the NYPD said it "observed no evidence of the violation at that time." (An eighth 311 report, handled by the Sanitation Department, was also closed because that agency does not remove cars that still have license plates on them.)

Finally, on Thursday, Streetsblog got an answer out of the NYPD: "The 78th Precinct is aware of the condition and are handling the situation." Three hours later, the taxi was finally gone:

removed 3
A hole lotta nothin — finally.
A hole lotta nothin — finally.

The NYPD declined to answer follow-up questions.

The saga of the abandoned Lincoln Town Car dates back to at least Aug. 7, when the taxi received the first of what are almost weekly tickets for not being moved for street cleaning, racking up 16 parking tickets in all.

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:
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 was shocking enough 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 — and cut a ceremonial ribbon on last Saturday.

The bike lane is almost entirely painted green — except DOT workers couldn't paint under the abandoned car...yet somehow it wasn't removed until Thursday night.

By late Thursday, we had still not heard from DOT regarding our question about how it could literally construct and celebrate a bike lane with an abandoned car blocking it.

Of course, it's not uncommon for the NYPD to be told about a parking situation and still do nothing about it. In fact, last year, Streetsblog watched as the agency closed a 311 call about an illegally parked car, claiming it had investigated the report — but all the while, our reporter remained on the scene and discovered that no officer every visited the car in question.

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