March (Parking) Madness: Another First Round Battle in the Bronx
12:01 AM EDT on March 13, 2023
This is the fourth first-round battle in our March (Parking) Madness contest. Brooklyn’s sidewalk-hogging 71st Precinct in Crown Heights took home the first contest on Thursday against their colleagues in Bath Beach, while the 43rd Precinct of Soundview advanced in last week's other first-round battle in the Bronx. Polls will remain open for the rest of today in our epic Battle of Midtown. Click here for that coverage.
The Bronx brawl moves to a pair of north-eastern precincts where cops deposit their personal vehicles in green spaces and footpaths outside their station houses, and drive with reckless abandon around the Boogie Down and beyond.
Some plates we ran had so many infractions for driving recklessly in school zones that their operators shouldn't be allowed on the road — never mind patrolling the streets in a squad car.
Both precincts are in parts of the Bronx where most households own a car, unlike the rest of the city.
Their officers still managed to block commutes for bus riders by parking in important bus corridors elsewhere, like the bus lanes on E. 161st Street between Yankee Stadium and the Bronx County court houses — where 25,000 daily riders pass through on the Bx6 — and the even busier 181st Street and 14th Street busways in Manhattan.
But which Finest outpost has the goods to advance to the next round and face off for the borough finals?
47th Precinct (Wakefield)
This brutalist fortress sits right across from the massive Edenwald Houses NYCHA complex on Laconia Avenue, and Inspector Osvaldo Nuñez doesn't seem to mind that his cops park their cars combat-style and with their exhaust pipes facing the apartment windows of their public housing neighbors.
Officers also block the entire northern sidewalk of adjacent E. 229th Street, (with designated angle-parking for "supervisors") as well as on nearby Grenada Place — even though there is a huge dedicated and fenced-off NYPD parking lot right across the street! You don't want to be a pedestrian in this neighborhood, as these pictures show:
Around the corner on E. 230th Street, cops also parked their cars on the sidewalk, and Streetsblog found several vehicles with scratched off or missing plates around the precinct house. (Reminder: intentionally defacing a license plate is illegal, but cops know that, right?)
Unlike the local Boys and Girls in Blue, most commuters in northern Bronx's Community Board 12 take public transit or walk, despite a majority of households in the area owning a car.
The largely illegally parked cars around the station house also had a slew of horrible driving records.
Of the 48 plates we ran, 11 cars had sped five or more times, including five who hit the gas above the limit 10 times or more.
Here are some of the worst offenders:
- This driver was caught with a staggering 42 violations since 2019, including 39 speeding tickets — 12 of them just last year — and another three red light tickets.
- That deranged behavior was only beaten by this motorist who sped 16 times since 2017
- Another driver had eight violations, including two speeding tickets, and was caught six times hogging the bus lanes on E. 161st Street — sorry Bx6 riders!
- Despite partially scratching off the back plate, this driver caught 15 violations, three for speeding, and one red light infraction.
So let's do the math: Reckless driving + disrespectful parking + plate illegalities = a spot in the borough finals? Let's see:
49th Precinct (Morris Park)
The 49th Precinct house is a smaller police outpost and abuts the large Jacobi Medical Center public hospital complex along Pelham Parkway, but officers still make their imprint on the neighborhood's streetscape — most noticeably by parking their cars illegally on patches of lawn along the sidewalk of Eastchester Road.
For some reason, Commanding Officer Captain Gareth Kentish allows the mucky maneuver (see video below) so his cops can harass pedestrians until they find a space in the patch of brown that was probably once green. It's just ugly and an abuse of power.
Like their neighbors to the north, the police are an outlier in an area where most commuters walk, bike, or ride transit.
Like other precinct houses, officers dump car wrecks outside their doorsteps and leave cars parked all over the sidewalk.
There have also been four crashes injuring eight people right in front of their building within less than a year.
Streetsblog's record search through 22 plates of cars parked around the precinct showed six had gotten camera-issued speeding tickets at least five times, with four of those having tripped the cameras 10 times or more. Reminder: when a car speeds past a city camera, it is doing at least 11 miles per hour above the speed limit ... in a school zone.
But for just less than two dozen plates, these cops had an outsize share of drivers blocking bus lanes and busways.
Here's what some of the law-breaking law enforcers at the 49th have been up to on the roads:
- PO Rodriguez (or so the fake placard in the dash of this car said) sped 10 times. In addition to the phony placard, the cop also had a stethoscope hanging from the rear-view mirror
- This driver caught four speeding and four red light tickets each, and if that wasn't enough, also blocked the E. 161st Street bus lanes twice
- Sporting an NYPD vest in the dash and tinted windows, this driver caught 27 violations, 22 of which were for parking tickets, another two for speeding, and three for blocking bus lanes on Webster Avenue and the 181st Street busway — sorry riders of the Bx3, Bx11, Bx13, Bx35, and Bx36!
- The poor 181st Street busway was also blocked by this guy twice, on top of five speeding violations and a red light ticket
- Lastly, this driver blocked the 14th Street busway and sped twice and blew a red.
So which awful precinct will advance to the Borough Finals later this week? You get to vote! Polls will remain open until Tuesday at 11:59:59 p.m. Tell all your friends.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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