Home USA News NYPD vehicles are parked on sidewalks, violating city ordinances and hindering accessibility

NYPD vehicles are parked on sidewalks, violating city ordinances and hindering accessibility

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NYPD drivers routinely park illegally on sidewalks. Police parking violations go unchecked, impeding the movement of pedestrians and wheelchair users.

An NYPD van is parked on the East 14th Street sidewalk. (Caleb Pisoni for WSN)

Late last month, a Honda SUV and what appeared to be a yellow cab were seen blocking the sidewalk near the 6th Precinct of the New York Police Department in Greenwich Village.

Cars are parked crookedly, jutting out of the driveway, making the sidewalk impassable. A sign behind them, on the garage door they’re obstructing, reads “Active Driveway / Do Not Block / Towed at Owner’s Expense.”

They were New York City police cars. The New York City Police Department has been criticized by disability rights groups and city residents for violating parking regulations that impede accessibility on city streets. Local law which entered into force in 2020 allows citizens to report illegal parking of vehicles to official city agencies. Since January 30 of the same year, there have been 4,021 reports of illegal parking of city agency vehicles on sidewalks.

On October 25, WSN found six NYPD vehicles parked on the sidewalk near the Sixth Precinct, which includes Washington Square Park. WSN also found two cars illegally parked near Tribeca’s first lot in Union Square, one of which was completely parked on the sidewalk.

A Twitter account @NYPD_Parking tracks and files complaints about illegally parked vehicles. The page, which uses the name “NYPD Parks On Our Sidewalks,” says it does filed more than 2,000 complaints — all of which were allegedly improperly closed.

Steve Kruse — co-founder of the Copwatch Patrol Unit, a volunteer group that monitors and records New York City police officers to document police brutality and harassment — said he’s noticed illegal parking by officers, particularly in the 46th Precinct in the Bronx. .

“They park everywhere, on the sidewalks,” Cruz said. “They have two big parking lots around the corner and they don’t use them. They say they are afraid that they might be broken. Really?”

NYPD drops disciplinary action against officers from 2013 to 2016 in possession former police commissioner William J. Brother. Bratton disbanded a tow squad that towed New York City police cars that were parked improperly. Some, including the @NYPD_Parking account page, called it the starting point for the police department’s reputation for parking violations.

In June, a New York City disability rights group filed a class-action lawsuit against the city along with Bronx residents Carlos Leon and Stephanie Diaz. Residents say that the neighborhood is difficult to navigate due to illegally parked cars. According to their first statement, Leon relies on family members to run errands for him because he can no longer use his wheelchair on the often blocked and poorly maintained sidewalks.

“The problem was there before COVID, but with COVID it just got out of control,” said Kathryn Haldeman, a spokeswoman for Disability Rights New York. “After months of DRNY involvement, the only option was to sue. It was a last resort.”

Federal prosecutors say the city’s failure to clear sidewalks of illegally parked cars violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Short from October 5 regarding the claim.

The ongoing lawsuit names the NYPD as a defendant and alleges the agency is failing to enforce parking laws, making the city unsafe for residents with disabilities. According to city records, the NYPD is the only agency that can respond to 311 reports of parking violations, a potential conflict when NYPD vehicles are also reported.

Cruz said he has witnessed cases where residents with disabilities have difficulty navigating the city because of illegal parking. He recalled that police officers were unwilling to help, instead ordering people with disabilities to go around parked cars, even if it meant going around the block.

The NYPD did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Contact Caleb Pisoni at [email protected]

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