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Streetsblog Gets Action: NYPD Chief Tells Cops to Stop Parking in Bus Lane

Courtesy, professionalism, eject. Finally!

Photo: Friend of Streetsblog|

On Tuesday night, the Second Avenue bus lane was finally clear of NYPD vehicles.

Courtesy, professionalism, eject.

Under orders from top brass, police officers have almost entirely cleared the Second Avenue bus lane of their personal vehicles, squad cars and equipment — just days after Streetsblog exposed the corruption and hours after the Department of Transportation announced that it would redesign the bus lane rather than fight the illegal parking.

The order to stop parking in the no-parking zone apparently came from Assistant Chief James McCarthy, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan South. A "Chief McCarthy" was cited on fliers slapped on officers' cars — one of which remained on Tuesday night on the mostly cleared bus lane.

The flier suggests that Assistant Chief James McCarthy of Manhattan South patrol borough had a hand in the order.Photo: Friend of Streetsblog

It's unclear how long the officers' cars will be gone from the red-painted lane. Community Board 6 and area residents have been complaining for years about police parking in the bus lane south of E. 23rd Street.

A "command discipline" typically involves lost vacation days.

A neighborhood resident who snapped the pictures on a rainy night credited Streetsblog's "vigilance in holding NYPD's feet to the fire and shining a light on these petty corruptions," but wished it hadn't come to that.

"Bus lanes are meant to more easily get New Yorkers — often with lesser incomes — to jobs and school," the tipster said. "It’s disgraceful that NYPD is able to choose when to follow the laws they’ve sworn to uphold — they’re supposed to serve us, not the other way around. I wish the department would take this as an opportunity to do a wholesale look at their practices that negatively affect the city."

Another local resident allowed himself to dream.

“An amazing sight! I have not seen the bus lane anywhere near this empty in any recent memory,” said Jason Froimowitz. “For the sake of the 57,000 daily M-15 riders, I'm cautiously optimistic that NYPD officials have taken the matter to heart and it's not just temporary.”

The worst blockages are exactly where NYPD officials leave their cars and equipment.Chart: DOT/MTA

At a community meeting on Monday, the MTA said that it has observed the most bus lane infractions in that very zone (see map above).

It's certainly not the first time Streetsblog reporting has been noticed by the top brass — although it's unclear how often the NYPD takes action after its corruption is revealed. Last year, shortly after the completion of Streetsblog's annual "March Parking Madness" competition, Chief of Patrol John Chell told the City Council that he welcomes "these blog sites" that point out illegal police parking.

"When I catch wind of something, I am on it," he said. "It drives me insane when I see cars literally parked on the sidewalk, blocking people from walking. I understand what the issue is. And I'm definitely dealing with it and I am not treating it like a joke."

Chief James McCarthy

Also last year, after a year-long campaign by Streetsblog against illegally defaced and covered license plates, the NYPD sent a memo to all officers that their cars would be checked when they went for regular shooting practice at the target range in The Bronx — and "violations will be strictly enforced."

Anecdotally, people who have observed police infractions previously say it has become harder to find police officers' cars with defaced or covered plates.

For the second consecutive week, the NYPD declined to comment about the Second Avenue bus lane. We will update this story if we hear back, but we did not get a response after the video below was posted last week:

This was last week.

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