Feb. 13, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
A package of five bills were introduced in City Council today by Council Member Robert Holden and four other legislators that are aimed at cracking down on placard abuse citywide.
The bills, brought forth by Holden, Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Margaret Chin, Keith Powers and Ritchie Torres are designed to target drivers who abuse, misuse and counterfeit city-issued parking placards–a reality that many New Yorkers say has impacted quality of life in the city.
Calls to curb rampant placard abuse have grown in recent times, with Mayor Bill de Blasio pledging to tackle the issue headfirst last year.
The five bills, however, take the fight a step further.
If passed, the bills will create a standardized application process for city-issued parking permits that will centralize and collect information on why placards are requested and how they are used. The package will also require a minimum of 50 targeted enforcement sweeps, monitored by the Department of Investigation, each week.
One of the proposed bills will explicitly prohibit city vehicles from blocking bike lanes, bus lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks or fire hydrants, except in the case of emergencies. Another of the bills, sponsored by Holden, would require traffic enforcement officers to have any vehicle towed that is blocking these same areas.
“As a civic leader for over 30 years, I have fought against drivers who skirt our parking laws, create more congestion and put others in danger,” Holden said in a statement. “I am proud to partner with Speaker Corey Johnson and my colleagues in the New York City Council in combating placard abuse and individuals who believe they are above the law and can park wherever they please. Parking in crosswalks and blocking sidewalks and hydrants will no longer be tolerated, and should be dealt with immediately.”
The final bill that was introduced, sponsored by Johnson, Torres and Chin, will allow for easier investigations by requiring that 311 accept complaints and photographic evidence related to illegal parking and permit abuses.
“Placard abuse is corruption, plain and simple, and New York City cannot tolerate it any longer,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are in a transportation crisis and the question of how we allocate our street space is of paramount importance. As we try to fight congestion and encourage modes of transportation like buses and cycling, it is clear that cracking down on placard abuse has to be part of any serious attempt to make navigating our City easier and more efficient for all New Yorkers.”