It’s called a side-“walk.”
Councilwoman Margaret Chin excoriated the police department and other city agencies on Thursday for illegally parking in her lower Manhattan district — and with seemingly no repercussions.
“How do you expect people to follow the law when the people who are supposed to be enforcing the law are not following it?” asked Chin at a Vision Zero oversight hearing at the City Council.
Chin was furious over city workers, as well as delivery trucks, who she said were either illegally parking on sidewalks or using illegitimate placards to park in the street. She noted that parking is sparse in her district, but said it wasn’t an excuse for an apparent lack of enforcement.
“You have delivery trucks … parking on the sidewalk, forcing kids to walk on the street,” Chin said. “Can we get some enforcement?”
Chin described seeing a “traffic agent uniform wrapped up and put in the windshield” of a police vehicle being used in lieu of a real placard.
Thomas Chan, the NYPD Chief of Transportation, said that type abuse goes back “many, many years” and acknowledged that the issue of illegitimate placards has gotten worse recently. Though bills to address the issue over the recent years have been met with resistance from the NYPD.
“We work very closely with our counterparts to patrol precincts because what happens is that, when they turn out, let’s say, to be NYPD personnel, then we can … issue disciplinary action against those officers if they’re in violation,” Chan said. “We will press it and we will issue summonses there.”
The practice is especially problematic, Chin argued, since more pedestrians have taken to an increasingly residential lower Manhattan, which features narrow sidewalks and streets. She called for the city to take on a “comprehensive study” that would address mobility in the area.
“We need to figure out how to use these streets,” she said.
Chin’s comments came as the city’s Department of Transportation begins announcing some details of this year’s Vision Zero projects. Coming off a third-straight year of reduced traffic fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio bolstered the initiative with a funding increase in his preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018.
That money will bring more street redesigns and a “new citywide high visibility crosswalk standard,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at the hearing. Trottenberg’s department will also be teaming up with the city’s Department of Health to “provide a new way to analyze injury patterns, severity and demographic information” relating to crashes, she said.
The administration will also be knocking on Albany’s door once again for legislation to loosen the operational restrictions of school zone speed cameras, which can be currently be used at 140 locations and during school hours.
“The cameras we have now, we think they’ve been transformational,” Trottenberg said. “In places we’ve put them…we’ve seen speeding go down by 50%. That said right now, if you look at the last five years of data where people were killed or seriously injured, 85 percent of those happened in times or places where we cannot use our speed cameras.”