Dec. 10, 2019 By Allie Griffin
The City Council Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Council Member Robert Holden that calls on the NYPD to tow illegally parked vehicles that create safety hazards.
The bill specifically targets unattended vehicles that are obstructing a sidewalk, crosswalk, fire hydrant, bicycle lane or bus lane. If a vehicle poses a threat to safety or prevents MTA buses from safely passing by, it should be towed, the bill states.
The New York Police Department currently has the authority to tow vehicles at its own discretion, but often just tickets them.
The new bill would put pressure on the NYPD to tow vehicles by requiring it to issue a report in January 2021 that includes the monthly number of vehicles towed in each precinct in 2020. However, the decision to tow a vehicle is still ultimately up to a police officer’s discretion.
Holden said he drafted the bill after moving into his new Middle Village office in March 2018 and discovering a car parked in front of a fire hydrant outside his office for days. He said he notified the local precinct and only with “a lot of pressure,” they towed it after a week of daily tickets.
“Safety has to be the priority,” Holden said at a press conference, noting that the bill isn’t about towing drivers who didn’t put enough money on the muni-meter. “We need to prioritize safety and this bill does that.”
The bill is among a number of bills currently going through the Council meant to crack down on placard abuse.
The transportation committee voted in favor of the bill 9 to 0.