Strict Enforcement of NY's Parking Laws Affects Official Vehicles

Thomas Kreutzer
by Thomas Kreutzer
strict enforcement of ny s parking laws affects official vehicles

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The New York Times reported Sunday on how strict enforcement of parking violations in Manhattan is causing problems for government agencies as they are forced to reclaim official vehicles that have been towed. In most cities, official vehicles are kept immune from the effects of parking enforcement by dashboard placards that allow government officials to park in red zones or without feeding the meter while they are on the job.

In New York city, that policy ended in 2008 when then Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to crack down on illegal parking by city employees and gave oversight of parking violations by official vehicles over to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. That agency’s policy is to tow cars, placard or not, no questions asked and, as a result, in 2013, New York City tow trucks removed 1855 vehicles displaying placards. Those vehicle included 242 registered to the Fire Department, 361 assigned to the Police Department itself and another 311 vehicles assigned to Federal agencies operating in the city. Most of the vehicles fall into the category of “safety hazard violations” and were towed for blocking bus stops, no standing zones and other places where parking is prohibited like fire lanes.

On the surface, this seems like a good policy that holds government employees to the same standard as the general public, but the article explains that towing and impound fees are not generally assessed against official vehicles and goes on to say that they are usually released to their agencies upon receipt of an official request. The net result is that the entire operation is one that actually costs the city money in unpaid fees while serving as little more than a nuisance to public employees who take time out of their work day to retrieve their vehicles. Senior officials have stated that the new police commissioner is currently reviewing the program.

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  • Compaq Deskpro Compaq Deskpro on Feb 25, 2014

    I can't get mad, it's what I would do.

  • Ixim Ixim on Feb 25, 2014

    Back in the day, I drove a cab in NYC to pay for school. Studebaker Larks! Dodge Coronets! No air conditioning!The traffic was just as bad as now, and the air smelled a lot worse. I saw enough traffic to last several lifetimes, but now, living 30 minutes outside Manhattan where many family still live, I actually enjoy driving in. 97% of the time there is legal street parking, if you search properly. I'd reveal my method, but then all the spots would be taken. Meanwhile, a veritable army of 15,000 meter people have relieved the cops of parking ticket duty. Rain or shine, they'll getcha. Cops and firemen parking illegally? I confess, many of them are friends of mine, and, when I'm around at least, they rarely abuse the parking privilege. And, no, I would never ask them for a placard. DiBlasio is the latest in the unbroken line of mayors going back to John Lindsay who is hostile to personal automobile use. He now has the backing of the bicycle/20 mph people who share that attitude. With any luck, Albany will shoot him down on this as he squanders his political capital on raising taxes, etc.

  • Tim Healey Lol it's simply that VWVortex is fertile ground for interesting used cars!
  • Jalop1991 I say, install gun racks.Let the games begin!
  • EBFlex For those keeping track, Ford is up to 24 recalls this year and is still leading the industry. But hey, they just build some Super Dutys that are error free. Ford even sent out a self congratulatory press release saying they built Super Duty’s with zero defects. What an accomplishment!
  • Norman Stansfield This is what you get when you run races to keep the cars bunched together for more excitement. F1 doesn't seem to have this problem after the first few laps.
  • SCE to AUX Too many cars = more wrecks. With today's speeds on essentially the same old track, starting with half the cars could reduce the congestion at the end. Or maybe it would increase the problem because the herd wouldn't thin early on.I say no overtime - finish at 500 miles and no more.