Cops ticket and tow their own placards

The New York Police Department’s recent four-day crackdown on illegally parked cars in Lower Manhattan resulted in 178 tickets, a police spokesperson said.

The department’s Internal Affairs Bureau concentrated their efforts from Tues., April 1 through Fri., April 4 on government cars blocking crosswalks, bus stops, and loading zones — towing 20 ticketed cars to pounds. One retired sergeant had a fake Department of Homeland Security placard on his dashboard and was charged with possession of a “forged instrument”—a misdemeanor, the New York Post reported.

Forty-eight of the ticketed cars belonged to N.Y.P.D. personnel and six of them were towed, according to the Post. The F.D.N.Y. had seven of its cars ticketed and one towed, and the Department of Transportation was ticketed six times. The police and transportation departments are in charge of the placards and are overseeing Mayor Bloomberg’s recently announced crackdown on abuses.

Parking advocates said the latest blitz must have omitted Chinatown, one of Lower Manhattan’s hotbeds of placard parking abuses.

“Whatever happened between the first and the fourth, it didn’t happen in Chinatown,” said Jan Lee, a small business owner and member of the Civic Center Residents Coalition.

Two weeks after the crackdown, Lee still said he sees a sizeable number of cars parked on Mott St. with placards on the dashboards even though it is a no permit street. He thinks that the aggressive ticketing was a good start but feels that more can be done.

“We need incentives, and we don’t want [government workers] to use their cars, period,” Lee said in a telephone interview.

And Lee isn’t the only one who feels that four days of stern ticketing will not make the placard abuse disappear.

“A four-day blitz is less than a drop in the bucket against this entrenched illegal behavior,” Dave posted on streetsblog.org, a traffic blog. “Create a roving task force that challenges people on returning to their placard-parked car and issue summonses for illegal use.”

— Sebastian Kahnert