March (Parking) Madness: The Battle for the Boogie Down Starts in the East Bronx
12:01 AM EST on March 9, 2023
This is the second first-round battle in our March (Parking) Madness contest. Polls will remain open all day in our first battle, pitting two Brooklyn precincts. Click here for that coverage.
These two precincts each have their fair share of parking and driving abuse their officers have wrought on their neighbors in two blue-collar sections of the East Bronx.
Boogie Down's bus riders were particularly given short shrift, with cops dumping their personal cars and literal dumpsters in bus lanes, or hogging a crucial busway in upper Manhattan.
Speeding and parking abuse area also rampant in both precincts, and one of them still has their block sealed off with metal gates.
Which of these worthy (unacceptable) competitors will advance to the next round facing off against their Bronx neighbors in the north?
43rd Precinct (Soundview)
It's easy to tell where the 43rd Precinct's territory begins and ends by looking at the bus lanes on Story Avenue, which are almost entirely covered in illegally parked cars at the police station house and its adjacent Fire Department post.
The Department of Transportation was not able to finish painting the red lanes on either side because of the cars hogging the paths, forcing the much-used Bx5 buses to weave into traffic.
The precinct has even deposited some mangled car wrecks and a Dumpster in the bus lane right outside the station house, where there is the usual combat-style parking of squad cars and unmarked vehicles.
Bronx Community Board 9 ranks 43rd out of the city's 59 community boards for bus speeds at an average of 5.7 miles per hour, but a majority of households (55.7 percent) don't own a car. Locals rely on buses since the nearest train line, the No. 6, is several blocks away on the other side of the Bruckner Expressway.
If slowing down bus rides for thousands of Bronx commuters and treating the bus lanes like a dump wasn't enough, officers under the command of Deputy Inspector Carlos Peralta also turned the low-rise public housing complex, Clason Point Gardens, across the street into an extension of their lawless parking lot, storing their personal vehicles there and around the corner on Metcalf Avenue.
One of the vehicles with a scratched off front plate has taken up residence on a former patch of grass on the NYCHA territory now rendered to mud from the frequent off-road parking.
The firehouse next to the precinct house isn't much better, with cars parked on the sidewalk, blocking hydrants (the irony), and combat parked at the rear of the building on Croes Avenue, including some vehicles with bent, scratched, and missing plates.
Of the 62 vehicles whose plates we ran, four of them had been caught speeding 10 times or more in recent years, and another 13 have been hitting the gas too much five times or more.
Among the most brazen offenders:
- This guy who sped 20 times last year alone
- This driver without a front plate who sped 17 times
- This driver with the vanity plate "MAGARAC" caught 15 speeding tickets
- A driver with a U.S. Army veteran vanity plate "Hghspd" (get it?) sped five times
- This driver had a white mask mounted at the top of his passenger seat, likely to use HOV lanes, but still sped five times and broke three red lights
45th Precinct (Throggs Neck)
This precinct's Commanding Officer Captain Johnny Orellana is one of the few who still has barricades around the station house, a leftover from the days of the George Floyd protests when precincts around the city battened down their hatches. It was absurd then and it remains absurd.
As a result, to access Barkley Avenue, Orellana's boys and girls in blue drive their squad cars with lights flashing on the sidewalk to get to the sealed-off block without having to get out of their vehicles to move their own fencing.
The intersection with East Tremont Avenue also has a completely burnt-out car dumped next to the crosswalk, and squad cars are combat-parked all along the street, blocking the sidewalk.
Pedestrians have to either walk down the middle of the street, or venture along the back of the cop cars onto a muddy slope of grass, that likely becomes a slippery mess any time it rains.
Outside the elegant station house, cop cars are combat-parked and there are several spots reserved for supervisors and a "cop of the month" parking space.
How bad is this precinct? The cop of the month's white Tesla was caught on camera speeding through school zones 12 times since 2021 and is among the worst offenders of the 29 plates we checked of cops's personal vehicles in and around the precinct.
The 45th had a slightly better driving record than its colleagues over in the 43rd with just two plates registering five or more speeding tickets, and another two clocking in 10 or more lead-footed behavior.
There was still plenty of abuse to go around:
- A driver with Florida plates combat-parked on the precinct block was caught speeding seven times in 2023 and a whopping 18 times last year. (Reminder: It is illegal for cops to live outside of New York State.)
- Another motorist with just a back plate from the Sunshine State, but a Lieutenants Benevolent Association card in the dash was parked on the sidewalk. (See above reminder.)
- While the cops weren't hogging bus lanes, one driver parked at the precinct single-handedly blocked the 181st Street busway over in Washington Heights 24 times in 2021
- A bus stop around the corner on E. Tremont Ave was also blocked by several cars
- Another driver with police placard got nine speeding tickets, four of them last year.
From blocking bus lanes to having a "cop of the month" with 12 speeding tickets, both of these precincts make a strong case for advancing to The Bronx borough finals. But you have the only vote that counts:
Kevin Duggan joined Streetsblog in October, 2022, after covering transportation for amNY. Duggan has been covering New York since about 2017 after getting his masters in journalism from Dublin City University in Ireland. After some freelancing, he landed a job with Vince DiMiceli’s Brooklyn Paper, where he covered southern Brooklyn neighborhoods and, later, Brownstone Brooklyn. He’s on Twitter at @kduggan16. And his email address is email@example.com.
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