Tuesday, August 21, 2007


TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES is a group that conducted a survey on parking. More stunningly, in July, 2006, in an NYPD Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the Park Row street closure around One Police Plaza, the NYPD's own surveyors found that 1217 cars parked illegally on the streets around One Police Plaza. Of those, 1012 were private commuter vehicles with city-issued permits. Though it may not be explicit policy, the NYPD's traffic enforcement division essentially operates under the premise that citywide there is a "no hit" policy on vehicles with permits in the window.

Permit abusers talk of the NYPD extending a "courtesy" to agencies to break the law; business owners and Business Improvement Districts relay accounts of local enforcement officers repeatedly refusing to give tickets to permit holders while ticketing non-permit holders parked in their midst.

During the course of the study, every one of Transportation Alternative's 22 surveyors was questioned and asked for ID (two were detained briefly) by law enforcement officers looking out for their own interest and ensuring “courtesy” for others.

While Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to reduce the number of permits on the street, the problem
persists. Transportation Alternatives estimates that over 150,000 drivers have access to free parking in the form of valid government-issued parking permits (including the more than 30,000 NYPD "Self- Enforcement Zone" permits and 75,000 teacher permits). Thousands more illicitly enjoy the same privileges by photocopying permits, or by minting their own. In part because of this parking privilege, census data clearly show that government workers drive to work at two times the rate of private sector

Overview of Results
• Citywide, more than 3 out of every 4 permit holders (77%) used their permits illegally.
• Citywide, the NYPD was responsible for 46% of illegal permit abuse, by far the largest share
from any single agency.
• Of valid permits used illegally at the curbside (i.e. illegally parking at signs with riders
forbidding that particular permit's usage), the NYPD was responsible for 63% of the abuse.
• Of the 369 total citywide violations in this study that caused safety hazards, there were 212
permit holders on sidewalks, 46 blocking fire hydrants, 23 in crosswalks, 22 in bus stops, 8 in
intersections, and 10 in bike lanes. The NYPD led the way with 61% of the total abuses.
• The NYPD were the leading abusers of permits using up meters, with 28% of the total.
• Court Officers were responsible for the majority of fraudulent permits with 54% of the total,
followed by Corrections, Court Clerks, and FDNY. This was in large part due to the
proliferation of union-issued permits for these agencies, which are not legal on New York City
While the recently announced $400,000 Department of Transportation study of parking and permit
abuse in downtown Manhattan is a positive step toward better understanding parking patterns, the
Mayor need not wait for another study to begin upholding the law and reducing the numbers of permits
in circulation. The Mayor and the NYPD should immediately implement the following
recommendations that would ameliorate the problem overnight:
• Enforce the Law
• Take Inventory of Permits and Reduce the Total
• Educate Government Workers to Eliminate the "Culture of Entitlement"
• Update Parking Signage to Reflect the Communities' Needs

So, in the wake of the traffic congestion plan, one can see that this study needs to be considered.
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