MARCH (PARKING) MADNESS 2022: A Queens Battle of the 103rd vs. the 114th

The 103rd Precinct in Jamaica takes on the reigning champs from Astoria in this Queens battle. Photos: Julianne Cuba
The 103rd Precinct in Jamaica takes on the reigning champs from Astoria in this Queens battle. Photos: Julianne Cuba

This is the fourth first-round battle in our annual contest. Previously in the first round, Brooklyn Heights’s 84th Precinct moved on to its borough final, and the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst did the same. But polls remain open til 11:59 p.m. on Sunday in a Bronx battle between the 48th Precinct and the 50th Precinct. For a reminder on why we do this contest, click here.

The 84th has advanced. Who's next? Click to enlarge.
The 84th has advanced. Who’s next? Click to enlarge.

Today’s first-round battle features two Queens precincts that both have notoriously bad reputations for how poorly they treat their neighbors by seizing public space to dump their private cars and squad cars — and one of them even snagged the title last year for being the ultimate worst, taking home the trophy in the March (Parking) Madness competition of 2021.

Has either done some penance? Have the precinct’s rank-and-file officers learned their lesson and retreated from the neighborhood’s sidewalks and crosswalks, or maybe have they at least stopped speeding and going through red lights?

You be the judge. But hint, hint, the answer, is no.

103rd Precinct (Jamaica)

This 91st Avenue station house has been featured in the pages of Streetsblog, not for March (Parking) Madness, but because its cops had infamously blamed the victim of a hit-and-run crash last summer, erroneously claiming he walked into a turning car outside the station house.

But, as it turned out, what precipitated the collision, according to the victim, was cops’ illegal parking in the crosswalk.

“There’s a crosswalk there, but there’s always police cars parked in it,” the victim, Tim Burke, told Streetsblog at the time. “I got hit.”

Then, to add insult to a literal injury, the police report blamed the victim, he said.

And now, more than six months later, when Streetsblog visited the precinct earlier this month, it seemed as if nothing had changed. Cop cars were still parked on the sidewalks, in the crosswalk, right in front of bus stops, and all places where they shouldn’t be.

Squad car parked blocking a bus stop outside the 103rd Precinct. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Squad car parked blocking a bus stop outside the 103rd Precinct. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Squad cars parked in the crosswalk. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Squad cars parked in the crosswalk. Photo: Julianne Cuba

But what makes matters worse on the blocks surrounding the 103rd precinct — including 168th and 169th streets, and 90th and 91st avenues — is that it’s also home to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Jamaica location, also on 91st Avenue.

The DMV does have use of a big parking lot, but that doesn’t solve anything. The sheer number of cars still manages to spill out onto the surrounding streets, joining the mix of illegally parked cop cars.

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And on at least two of those cars’ license plates, several letters and numbers had been, or attempted to be, scratched off, in an effort to evade ticket enforcement — either from their own colleagues, and from cameras.

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But other cars left haphazardly in NYPD-only parking areas managed to rack up a slew of tickets for going through red lights and speeding in school zones, according to How’s My Driving. At least one would even be subject to booting or being impounded under the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement program, which requires drivers who have been caught by city speed cameras 15 times or on red-light cameras five times in any 12-month period to take a safety course or risk having their wheels seized.

That car had racked up a whopping 22 tickets for speeding in school zones between October, 2021 and this January, according to city records.

So it’s no surprise that there have been at least four crashes every single day in the 103rd Precinct, according to city stats. Since January, 2021, there have been a total 1,753 reported crashes in that precinct, causing 822 injuries, including to 38 cyclists and 153 pedestrians, and 632 motorists, according to Crash Mapper. And one pedestrian has been killed.

114th Precinct (Astoria)

The reigning champion of the March (Parking) Madness tournament of 2021 is back to defend its crown.

Streetsblog readers determined last year that these officers were the most disrespectful in town; and the madness has continued this year, with the men and women in blue still shamelessly dumping their cars — including smashed up vehicles being kept by the precinct as part of ongoing investigations — on sidewalks, in crosswalks, in front of fire hydrants, and double-parked right in front of the precinct on Astoria Boulevard South, causing even more congestion.

114crash
A car being held at the precinct for investigation is left in the crosswalk. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Double parked cars outside the 114 Precinct. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Double-parked cars outside the 114 Precinct. Photo: Julianne Cuba

It’s no wonder officers there refused to accept the custom-made trophy that Streetsblog had commissioned to honor dishonor Capt. Ray Jenkins and his cops last year. Perhaps they will they be victorious again this year, and accept what’s theirs.

The chaotic mess of the 114th continues across the 35th Street bridge opposite the station house, where the cops park on the sidewalk, despite no parking signs and a posted “shared route” bike path sign. And it looks no tamer than it did last year.

114bridge
Pedestrians squeeze past the cars parked on the bridge. Photo: Julianne Cuba

And on 35th Street, adjacent to the side of the station house, where there’s another shared — and often blocked — bike lane, officers park so close to the building that pedestrians are forced to squeeze past, and trash piles up.

Trash builds up behind cars on the sidewalk outside the 114. Photo: Julianne CubaTrash builds up behind cars on the sidewalk outside the 114th. Photo: Julianne Cuba

But it’s not just a harmless mess; officers in the 114 have also racked up their fair share of tickets for blowing through red lights and speeding in school zones, actively putting their neighbors in harms way. One of those, for example, was nabbed for speeding 12 times and for going through red lights twice since 2020, according to How’s My Driving.

Like their colleagues over in the 103, some officers at the Astoria stationhouse attempt to evade the law by illegally defacing their license plates. Here’s an example:

This plate has no tickets. What a surprise. Photo: Julianne Cuba
This plate has no tickets. What a surprise. Photo: Julianne Cuba

And since January, 2021, there have been a total of 2,203 reported crashes in the 114th, causing 840 injuries, including to three cyclists, 169 pedestrians, and 668 motorists; and in that time, there have been four fatal crashes, killing two pedestrians and two motorists, according to city stats.

So which precinct will you choose as more disrespectful? Polls remain open until Monday at 4 p.m.:

So Which Precinct is Worse?

  • The 114th (Astoria)? (81%, 124 Votes)
  • The 103rd (Jamaica)? (19%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 154

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