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Wednesday’s Headlines: Vindication Edition

12:03 AM EDT on March 29, 2023

This is the guy who got the ticket. Note the last number is “0.”

Here's a criminal mischief update! Remember our scoop last month about an innocent guy who got drawn up into the epic problem of plate defacement and covering? If you recall, this was a guy with a Hyundai with the license plate KUT2820 who got a speeding ticket because some jerk with the license plate KUT2828 had covered up the final digit?

The summons shows a dark car with a defaced plate.
The summons shows a dark car with a defaced plate. Click to enlarge and compare with the lead image on this page. You won't regret it.

Well, justice has been served: Our tipster won on appeal. The Department of Finance told him in a letter this week that the charge had been dismissed because of "persuasive documentary evidence" — i.e. the photos that the innocent guy sent of his car (above) compared to the photo (right) that the DOT camera had taken.

Naturally, our innocent man — a driver, sure, but at least one who isn't reckless — knew who deserved some of the credit.

"I want to thank Streetsblog for bringing attention to this important issue.
Justice has prevailed," he told us. "I feel I have been vindicated. It's not just the cost of the summons, which climbed to $85 [because of fees added during the appeal], but it's about what's right.  It proves the system does work."

He did remind law abiding citizens that mistakes get made — especially since more than 7 percent of plates can't be read by city speed cameras, as we also reported last month.

"I hope in the future, those who review the images take a closer look at the photos and take notice of the obvious: less-than-scrupulous people do alter plates and innocent motorists shoulder the blame." (Speaking of innocent motorists — whose side even we sometimes find ourselves on — the West Side Rag had a great story about the bureaucratic abyss that ensnared one neighborhood resident.)

And speaking of criminal mischief, our editor posted a great video from his commute home, raising serious questions about fake chaplains with fake placards, fake car registrations and covered plates:

In other news:

  • Hat tip to Errol Louis for continuing to be one of the few mainstream reporters and commentators who take placard abuse and chaotic police parking seriously. For New York Magazine, Louis did a very good primer (and deep dive into Streetsblog clips) on why Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell needs to aggressively confront police driving and placard corruption if she really hopes to have her "First 15" campaign succeed. But, of course, you read Streetsblog, so you know that, dear reader.
  • And a hat-tip to the Times for again crediting Streetsblog (second time in a week!) for our scoop on the MTA's environmental mitigation plan in The Bronx.
  • The Times did break the story of new renderings for the seemingly non-starter of a "plan B" replacement for Penn Station. Then the Post ripped it off — yet put a bizarre video on top that had nothing to do with the story and only confused matters.
  • Subway "token booth" clerks will leave their Plexiglas palaces and start working the platforms. (NYDN, amNY)
  • It was nice to see a quick turnaround from Gothamist on last night's meeting in Astoria where cyclists and pedestrians showed up to complain to cops about car drivers rather than the other way around. Our story is forthcoming.
  • Thankfully, Jalopnik took down that Vancouver radio host who complained about road safety infrastructure after drivers kept crashing into it.
  • Noise complaints are up. We blame helicopters and cars. (NYDN)
  • Or SUVs — which should be regulated out of existence, says the Financial Times.
  • We were happy to see that a majority of the Council supports enforcement cameras on buses, even if Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie remains on the fence. Politico had reported the news in its newsletter on Monday.
  • Our friend Joel Epstein has joined the ranks of those "kids" who have used every single Citi Bike dock. (Medium)
  • And, finally, what do all the cool cities and states have in common? Hint: It's a key Open Plans priority right now (and a fun little Streetfilm with blink-and-you'll-miss-it livable streets celeb cameos:

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