Above The Law: Government Parking Permit Abuse in NYC
Transportation Alternatives and community activists from all five boroughs held a press conference at City Hall to announce the findings of a study on parking permit abuse in NYC (Sept. 2006).
Noah Budnick: [00:10] New York City streets and sidewalks are a limited resource and when public space is dominated by a group of people who for no reason feel entitled to break the law, everyone else is hurt.
John Liu: [00:21] Transportation issues abound in New York City, and from the Department of Transportation to the New York Police Department there is always an emphasis on public safety and on decreasing congestion. And yet when abuses of parking permits take place, people parking their cars on sidewalks, double parking, parking in front of hydrants, parking in bus stops, these are severely detrimental to public safety.
Matthew Roth: [00:50] The first and easiest and most comprehensive solution would simply to enforce the law. There are existing traffic laws that prohibit all this kind of parking abuse that we’re seeing, but no-one’s enforcing that law.
Alan Gerson: [01:01] This is not just some kind of point that a few activists are making, this is a very serious problem plaguing safety conditions in daily life in our communities. It’s a very serious safety problem when cars park in front of fire hydrants, when cars park overlapping intersections.
Jane McGroarty: [01:24] 15 years ago our community association spent scores of hours and volunteer hours taking place and essentially proving that the illegal parking was commuter parking.
Theo Dorian: [01:41] In ’96 and ’97 when the merchants in our community pointed out that because city agencies were putting up identifications, placards, which we’re now learning are mostly fraudulent, in their windows and using the little metered space that there was, flyers began to come out and circulate in the neighbourhood that said, Please Do Not Support These Merchants With Your Business. Do Not Shop At The Merchants On Stuyvesant. Thank You For Your Support. After that, another flyer came out with pictures… with drawings of tombstones upon it.
Matthew Roth: [02:13] Fraudulent permits should be immediately rescinded, pulled off the street and the union should be mandated not to continue printing fraudulent permits. And anyone else who’s abusing fraudulent permits should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Speaker: [02:28] If you confront a ticket agent, they run away from you about it. They will not ticket any placarded car. If you confront them, they tell you their supervisor told them not to.
Sandy Balboza: [02:39] City workers don’t want to ticket other city workers even when they know the permits are bogus.
Speaker: [02:43] Traffic enforcement agents need to know that it’s okay to ticket permitted vehicles that are abusing the law and they shouldn’t be reprimanded for it, which is so often the case.
Oscar Ruiz: [02:52] I live in the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx and the 49 precinct. As you can see I got pictures right here, totally showing the outright disrespect of the community. It brings down the quality of life. If you drive a car and you’re looking for a parking spot and you can’t find it, which you can’t find where I live at, all of a sudden you see somebody pull up to a hydrant, a no standing zone, a no parking zone, an intersection, and park their car and put their placard in the windshield. In other words, I’m a police officer, I’m above the law. That’s not right.
Speaker: [03:20] NYPD park just about everywhere. They park on the sidewalk, they park into a lane of traffic, they even park in front of the entrance to buildings.
Speaker: [03:28] And they just do this without any regard at all, or the fact that they could get towed, they could get… but they know they’re going to be left alone. For people who are supposed to be upholding the law, it really says there’s something very bad about the fact that they’re allowed to do this and the city isn’t cracking down on it.