It has been the bane of professional drivers, recreational cyclists, business improvement districts and almost all New Yorkers in between. There is finally going to be a crackdown on Placard abuse in NYC. Placard Abuse, City employees taking advantage of a system that allows them to park where others can’t while (supposedly) conducting city business. This has led to increased emissions, double parking, loss of business for certain merchants, and of course, safety concerns.
Both the de Blasio administration and City Council vowed to crack down on this abuse, with the council last week passing a slew of bills that would do the following:
- Double fines for unauthorized or fraudulent parking permits.
- Directing NYPD to electronically track placards and issue periodic reports on placard abuse.
- Create a standardized placard application process.
- Require 311 to accept complaints and pictures of placard abuse.
- Revoke the placards of drivers who get three or more violations.
“Placard abuse is corruption and no drivers have the right to take away space,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said at a press conference. Of course, the above list is just the side dishes of eliminating placard abuse, the main course is:
- Prohibit official city vehicles from blocking a bike lane, bus lane, crosswalk, sidewalk, or fire hydrant.
That sounds great! But it seems like something is missing. Let’s review that list again. Prohibit official city vehicles from blocking a: BIKE LANE, BUS LANE, CROSSWALK, SIDEWALK, or FIRE HYDRANT. Yup! Wouldn’t you know it, something huge is missing from that list: COMMERCIAL LOADING ZONES. Truck drivers lose out on spots daily because placarded vehicles and FHV’s get a pass when they occupy truck loading zones. This, of course, leads to more parking tickets for those commercial vehicles and higher costs for everyone, because goods and services still need to be delivered even if the truck only zone is occupied by non-commercial vehicles. A problem that will only get worse because loading zones will be one of the few safe harbors for placard holders.
If placard abuse is “corruption” it is reprehensible that the “corruption” gets a pass in dedicated truck parking areas. Trucks are the lifeblood of the City’s economy. Failing to keep non-commercial vehicles out of truck-only zones leads to more tickets and higher costs to small business, and eventually, to the consumer. We implore Mayor de Blasio to send these bills back to the Council, so that truck parking and commercial loading zones are included. Corruption against one is the same as corruption against all.