Cops, schoolteachers and other municipal workers who abuse placards are being targeted by an “infuriated” Mayor Bill de Blasio, who promised Wednesday to punish any civil servant who unlawfully uses New York City streets — or sometimes sidewalks, bus stops and fire hydrants — as an unauthorized parking lot.
At a news conference outside a Bronx school, de Blasio vowed that the city would enforce parking rules equally, including around police precincts and schools.
“Public employees don’t get to be above the law,” de Blasio said, calling the misuse of placards “an insult to the people of New York City.”
The city issues about 150,000 official placards, excluding fraudulent ones and unofficial placards distributed by some labor unions. While union-issued placards don’t grant motorists any special parking privileges, the NYPD’s parking enforcement agents sometimes willfully decline to issue summonses as required by law.
“I’m sure some people need new training. We’ll make sure that happens,” de Blasio said. “But it a culture that was tolerated for a long time.”
De Blasio credited a twitter account called @placardabuse with documenting instances in which clearly illegally parked vehicles — sometimes with no more than a folded-up NYPD vest on the dashboard — are allowed to park with impunity.
De Blasio’s announcement comes as his administration prepares to issue 50,000 parking permits to public school personnel. To combat their misuse, de Blasio said the city would revoke any placard used outside of the holder’s school zone, and the person would face discipline and the vehicle towed. De Blasio said the NYPD would also create a dedicated enforcement unit, hire 100 more agents, tow offending vehicles and create a $100 special fine for placard abuse, in addition to the parking violation itself.
Three years from now, the city hopes to employ computerized license-plate scanners capable of electronically sweeping the streets to identify who’s parked legally and who isn’t, and ticketing accordingly, said Laura Anglin, a top de Blasio administration aide.
De Blasio said it was premature to say whether the license plate scans would be retained.
Even as de Blasio inveighed against city personnel who illegally park, at least two vehicles were left in no-standing zones around the corner from the announcement: a photocopied cover of a years-old, NYPD “CIVILIAN HANDBOOK” sat on the dashboard of one vehicle; on another, a guidance counselor had left her photo ID.
Neither had been ticketed.