Manhattan Pol to NYPD: Follow the Law on Placard Misuse

Gale Brewer is on the case.
Gale Brewer is on the case.

You go, Gale.

Manhattan City Council Member Gale Brewer is the latest elected official to demand that the NYPD follow the law when it comes to cracking down on placard abuse by city workers including, mostly, cops.

In a letter on Tuesday, Brewer reminded Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell that the city’s Local Law 6 requires the police department to “each week, evaluate no fewer than 25 blocks or intersections that are experiencing a prevalence of improper use of parking permits, and no fewer than 25 blocks or intersections that are experiencing obstruction of bicycle lanes, bus lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, and fire hydrants by vehicles.”

The NYPD is then supposed to report back monthly to the Department of Investigation, the mayor, and the Speaker of the Council, which it has not done.

“The Department has not been in compliance with this law, and I respectfully ask the Department to treat illegal parking and placard abuse with the level of urgency it deserves,” Brewer wrote.

The agency has long claimed that the Covid pandemic has prevented the police from carrying out their duties under the law, which went into effect on Jan. 2, 2020. “While the NYPD was actively gathering the data, due to limited personnel resources resulting from Covid-19, the data collection is delayed,” agency spokesperson Sgt. Jessica McRorie told Streetsblog for its story in October of that year. “The Department is … committed to resuming the collection of data in the near future.”

Seeing no compliance, Streetsblog again asked the NYPD in July 2021 for information about its implementation of Local Law 6, but received no response.

The agency has not responded to Brewer’s letter, and declined to comment when Streetsblog asked on Thursday, referring us to the Department of Investigation.

That agency issued a statement that made it clear that the NYPD is not living up to the requirements in the law.

“The pandemic presented real logistical issues to perform the requirements of Local Law 6, including that the traffic patterns and parking situations were disrupted and have remained disrupted, making data gathering difficult, as set forth in our fall 2020 letter to the City Council,” said agency spokeswoman Diane Struzzi. “Those conditions persisted throughout 2020 and 2021. Commissioner Strauber understands that this is an important issue for both the City Council and the public. As we now are beginning to emerge from the pandemic, DOI is in discussion with NYPD about how best to fulfill the requirements of Local Law 6 going forward.”

On Thursday, Brewer doubled-down on her demands — and dismissed the frequent explanation that the NYPD has more important things to do than crack down on illegal parking.

“I don’t go for that,” Brewer said. “Now, you know, I have worked in agencies, so I’m very conscious that sometimes difficult to comply, but when it’s the law, you have to comply. … If it’s a law, you got to follow it.”

Beyond that, Brewer said the NYPD should comply because placard abuse — which creates dangerous conditions on roadways, adds to congestion, intimidates stationhouse neighbors, and undermines NYPD credibility — is a “major constituent issue.”

“I get a lot of calls on this,” Brewer told Streetsblog. “It’s not like we’re asking for something that nobody cares about. As the mayor, he also should be responsible. It’s not just you know, a pie-in-the-sky kind of issue that isn’t in the minds of people.”

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