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Queens Chronicle

Council vote urges NYPD to tow cars

Tuesday’s 45-0 vote is latest step in crackdown of placard abuse

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Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2019 10:30 am

The City Council passed a bill urging the NYPD to tow vehicles blocking sidewalks, crosswalks, fire hydrants, bike lanes and bus lanes whenever they pose a threat to safety by a 45-0 vote on Tuesday.

Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) introduced Int. 1412, which was also sponsored by Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and nine other Council members.

“Parking is constantly becoming more limited in this city, and unfortunately that leads to drivers abandoning the rules of the road,” Holden said in a statement. “Not only is it dangerous for vehicles to block fire hydrants, crosswalks, sidewalks, bus lanes and bike lanes, but it greatly increases the amount of congestion on the roads.”

The lawmaker drafted the bill after notifying the NYPD about a vehicle parked in front of a fire hydrant outside of his district office but being told the police could only continue ticketing the vehicle.

The bill will also require the Police Department to issue a report in January 2021 that includes the number of vehicles towed in each precinct for each month in 2020.

Tuesday’s vote is also a way of cracking down on placard abuse. Other recent legislation included doubling the fine for unauthorized or fraudulent parking permits and requiring the NYPD to electronically track placards.

In a February statement, Johnson said regarding the new bill, “Placard abuse is corruption, plain and simple, and New York City cannot tolerate it any longer.”

Johnson added that as the city fights congestion and encourages other modes of transportation, “it is clear that cracking down on placard abuse has to be part of any serious attempt to make navigating our city easier and more efficient for all New Yorkers.”

In May 2017, Mayor de Blasio announced a new plan to crack down on placard fraud and abuse.

Two months later, the Chronicle reported on abuse of city employee parking placards in the areas around Borough Hall and the Queens Criminal Courthouse.

During four visits, the Chronicle found illegally parked vehicles with city-issued placards, vehicles in spaces requiring placards where drivers put items such as baseball caps or reflective safety vests with city department logos on the dash instead, and cards with the logo of the NYPD or other law enforcement agencies.

Vehicles were seen blocking fire hydrants, crosswalks and pedestrian curb cuts.

In the wake of Tuesday’s vote, a spokesperson for Holden said there’s no minimum time a car has to be left before it is towed because it’s illegal to park in those areas regardless.

“In reality, someone who stops at a fire hydrant for two minutes is highly unlikely to get towed because of response times,” the spokesperson said in an email. “This bill is mainly meant to address those who park in these spaces overnight or for long periods of time.”

Holden told the New York Daily News “Safety has to be the priority — not if you park 10 minutes over the Muni Meter and then you get towed for that.”

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1 comment:

  • Buster57 posted at 4:21 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2019.

    Buster57 Posts: 79

    “Parking is constantly becoming more limited in this city, and unfortunately that leads to drivers abandoning the rules of the road,” Holden said in a statement.

    Duh....Holden....you have the solution right there. RESTORE parking!! Why are we, the drivers, who pay license fees, registration fees, inspection fees & insurance being penalized? When you start registering bicycles and the like and start making them get annual inspections and insurance then we'll talk. Meanwhile, give us back our parking spots!