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Monday’s Headlines: And It’s All Legal Edition

12:04 AM EST on February 22, 2021

It’s all legal!

Did you ever park your car in front of the Citi Bike rack on W. 70th Street and not get a ticket?

If so, don't thank the NYPD for its lack of concern for illegal parking — blame the Department of Transportation ... for not making it illegal!

Check out the photo at the top of this page, sent over by Friend of Streetsblog Daniel Bowman Simon. It shows a fancy car blocking the rack so cyclists can't use it, and a DOT sign saying drivers can legally park there at all times except Monday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. And it wasn't only that car. Simon sees it all the time (another photo below):

Another legal scoflaw.
Another legal scofflaw.

It seemed like a mystery, so we consulted the internet — and discovered that the Citi Bike rack was extended sometime after July, 2019 (when Google's camera-covered car captured the image below). You can even see that someone had painted "No parking" in anticipation of the rack being extended.

The "before" shot.
The "before" shot.

Why the DOT didn't take down the sign is anyone's guess. Simon has been asking Citi Bike for answers, but receiving only automated, bot-style responses, "I will be delighted to assist you with your inquiry about reporting a vehicle parking on a station," one porto-human wrote him. "We appreciate for letting us know this vehicle is blocking a station."

He also filed a 311 complaint, but hasn't gotten any response yet. We'll keep you posted, but if you're on W. 70th Street and happen to have a hacksaw, a post-hole digger and some cement, you might want to take matters into your own hands.

In other news from a surprisingly quiet weekend:

    • The MTA has restored two more hours of early morning subway service, bringing the daily count to 22 hours. (NYDN)
    • NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg threw the media under the bus by saying early pandemic coverage hurt transit. Um, plenty of local pols did that, not us (NY Post). Earlier in the weekend, she demanded more cops. (NY Post)
    • In case you missed it last week (we had!), Attorney General Letitia James backed off suing the city for not protecting cab drivers from predatory lending and for hyping the value of taxi medallions. James spent a year investigating the taxi business, only to conclude that she didn't have a case (NYDN). Taxi industry expert Charles Komanoff crowed because he's long been saying that the industry was undermined mostly by Uber and Lyft. The Daily News followed up with a touching op-ed on the subject.
    • Research suggests that not only does building new car lanes induce more traffic, but reallocating car lanes to bikes, pedestrians and transit actually reduces congestion. (The City Fix)
    • If driverless taxis wind up being cheaper because there’s no driver who gets paid, more people will use them, so autonomous vehicles will make congestion worse. (Forbes)
    • The Post did a story about two lonely tourists on a double-decker bus — but didn't point out how useless it is for mostly empty buses to spew pollution into our air, as Streetsblog pointed out last year.
    • The artist who made the famed Wall Street bull has died. Arturo Di Modica was 80. (NY Post, NY Times)
    • In case you missed it, Sidewalk Talk did a nice Q&A with "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz.

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