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Friday’s Headlines: Streetsblog Gets Action Edition

It doesn’t look like much, but Streetsblog got one abandoned car towed this week from a spot on Ocean Parkway (arrow).

One down, thousands more to go.

Our old man editor did a story yesterday about an illegally parked abandoned car (with an NYPD vest on the dashboard) that had not moved from a "No Standing" zone for nearly two years, yet had only been ticketed three times despite dozens of 311 complaints.

Well, hours after Streetsblog called the NYPD about the clearly abandoned car, the junked jalopy was finally towed away.

Council Member Rita Joseph — who reached out to the commanding officer of the 70th Precinct after hearing about the forsaken four-wheeler — sent us the picture above as proof that the NYPD had, indeed, made good on its promise to tow away the car (no, the picture doesn't look like much, given that all three cars in the picture are illegally parked, but it's a start).

We asked the NYPD for lots of details about the operation. Specifically, we wanted to know why the NYPD repeatedly closed 311 service requests about the abandoned car claiming it had taken action when, in fact, it had not. We wanted to know if any of the officers who closed those cases would be disciplined. We wanted to know if the agency had anything to say about the sudden turn of events. But the NYPD declined to comment.

Our story elicited an outpouring of excitement. Streetsblog reader Samantha Liskow wrote to our editor to thank him for a  column that was so "excellent" that she and her family "took a field trip" to the corner in question just to see the car for themselves — and also happily confirmed the car was gone.

"Thank you so much for your important reporting on the (un)safety, abuse of power, and dereliction of public duties!" she added.

The keepers of the Placard Abuse Twitter account, who first alerted us to the car, said the police have "no plausible excuse" for how they handled the 311 calls.

"It very well may be mismanagement of junked vehicles," the account holder said in an email. "Another possibility is that it's an extra car that belongs to an officer who has been too lazy to deal with it. We've seen that before, too."

But at least the neighborhood eyesore is gone. On the downside, another three illegally parked cars were in the No Standing zone on Thursday. Onward.

In other news:

    • New York Attorney General Letitia James joined the suit to stop the Postal Service from buying so many gas-powered trucks (NYDN). The Times focused on the national story.
    • A Bronx woman was run over and killed by a Mercedes driver. The Daily News said the driver was charged, but for some reason, the paper didn't bother to run the plates on the car, which has 20 camera-issued speeding tickets since August, enough to trigger the city's mandatory safe-driving course. Reminder: Reckless drivers aren't a mystery; there's a list of thousands of them in the city's own speed-camera ticket database.
    • "Track intrusions" are up. (The City)
    • Are we still talking about how New York City has so few public bathrooms? Yes, because New York City still has so few public bathrooms. (amNY)
    • Our parent company Open Plans worked with Time Out New York to compile a list of the top 10 open streets.
    • We have a new Taxi Commissioner. (amNY, Gothamist)
    • Have some fun on Saturday by joining our friends at Streetopia UWS on a bike ride through the neighborhood. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Church of St. John the Divine for the annual blessing of the bicycles before a tour and some food at 11 a.m. at Amity Hall at Amsterdam and 109th Street.
    • And don’t forget Bike New York’s 5-Boro bike ride on Sunday.
    • And, finally, we mentioned state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's concern about the MTA's debt load the other day, but Rachael Fauss of Reinvent Albany answered our concern with a concerned thread:

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