Pols Taking Action to Curb Placard Parking Abuse in Downtown

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 at 5:02 am by

Parking placard abuse is rampant downtown, more so in Chinatown, but today another step is being taken to help curb it.

This morning, City Council’s Committee on Transportation will hear a litany of legislation on the issue, including a bill introduced by Councilwoman Margaret Chin “to define the number of violations that lead to the immediate and permanent revocation of a City-issued placard,” and a bill by Councilman Peter Koo “to require the City to develop a comprehensive plan to address the creation and distribution of City-issued placards.”

To date, City employees (e.g. police officers, teachers) have been cumulatively issued over 160,000 legal placards. However, rather than seeking out a designated spot, many entitled drivers use these placards as a golden ticket to park pretty much anywhere. It poses a significant safety issue, making the already perilous streets of Chinatown/Lower East Side even more dangerous for kids, who regularly use blocked crosswalks in school zones. Not to mention the potential hazard that threatens local businesses and homes when abusers block things like fire hydrants.

“Time and time again we’ve seen that a legitimate or even bogus placards are tantamount to a free parking pass and I think the perception may be that this is a victimless crime — a wink and a nod, or a courtesy that it’s just something you do to help people out,” Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives recently told AM New York. “But there are very real consequences to this rampant placard abuse. One is safety. We see placard vehicles parked in front of fire hydrants and in crosswalks, increasing the danger on our streets.”

In 2016, the city issued 28,269 summonses to drivers with placards who parked illegally. Last year, that number grew to 41,931 summonses. That 13,000 increase shows no signs of slowing, and the spike is seemingly not enough of a deterrent.

What has been somewhat effective, though, is the vigilante whistle-blowing “Placard Abuse” Twitter handle that exposes those drivers in violation and photos of their licenses.

As yet, there aren’t any defined rules as to the number of violations that can occur before a placard is revoked.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out…

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