They Didn’t Get the Memo (Actually, They Did — They’re Just Ignoring It)

The double-whammy: Parked on the sidewalk and in the bike lane. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The double-whammy: Parked on the sidewalk and in the bike lane. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
How Streetsblog covered the memo story.
How Streetsblog covered the memo story.

Well, what did you expect?

One day after top NYPD brass reminded rank-and-file cops that it is illegal and dangerous to park in bike lanes, bus lanes on curbs and in other places that normal people know are illegal and dangerous places to park, cops are still, well, you know.

And they’re still doing it with impunity.

After we posted our story about the NYPD parking edict from on high, we were naturally inundated with photos of police officers willfully violating their superiors’ mandate to shape up. And we spotted plenty of examples ourselves from all the usual suspects. Check out the day’s catch:

Schermerhorn Street (Downtown Brooklyn)

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The area is so well known as a placard parking abuse zone for police officers at Transit Bureau 30 that local Council Member Steve Levin vowed last year to make clearing the street a top priority of his last year in office. He has tried everything, yet failed so spectacularly, that now he finds himself forced to frequently defend himself on Twitter from constituents.

Briarwood station in Kew Gardens:

We haven’t written much about how cops from Transit Bureau 20 have commandeered a Van Wyck Expressway service road into their own private parking zone, but after we wrote about the NYPD memo, one of our readers sent us a trove of photos showing the scale of the abuse. Here’s a slideshow:

The sidewalk is a key access route to the Briarwood station on the E and F lines. Worse, our correspondent sent over the license plate numbers of about two dozen of the illegally parked police officers’ cars: 22 of the cars had multiple moving violations on them, including one cop with 17 speeding tickets last year and another with 12 speeding tickets last year.

The NYPD promised to revoke the placard privileges for police officers who rack up many tickets, but apparently has not done anything to make good on that vow.

Northern Boulevard (Jackson Heights):

Keen-eyed correspondent Steven Bodzin of Queens sent us these images from Jackson Heights:

The 88th Precinct (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn):

Residents of Clinton Hill are fed up with cops from the Classon Avenue station house. Over the summer, the officers stole a whole school playground (only to give it back and then take it again), but on Thursday, they were up to their oldest trick of parking on the sidewalk (also near a subway station) and in a bike lane. Here’s a slideshow:

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Perhaps we were naive to think that an agency-wide memo would change anything about the NYPD’s culture of placard abuse. After all, our original story had plenty of mockery of the memo and plenty of certitude that there was, as a police officer might say, nothing to see here.

“We expect this will go down the same way that it always does,” the keeper of the seminal Placard Abuse Twitter account told us for the story.

Of course, Placard Abuse had plenty to add to this story, too:

We asked the NYPD if Tuesday’s memo was an indication of a new enforcement push by cops against their placard-abusing brothers and sisters, but was told that, no, it’s just business as usual.

“Any incidents reported to the NYPD will be investigated,” said Sgt. Jessica McRorie, an agency spokeswoman. “An investigation will examine if the plaque was used in accordance with police department guidelines. If appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken.”

In a follow-up, McRorie said the public should report illegal cop parking to 311. Um, yeah, right. As Streetsblog reported, NYPD cops issued just 33 summonses for illegal placard parking in the entire city between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

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