Metro

Cops clearing illegal bike lane parking complaints with curiously fast speed

They’re too fast.

Cops patrolling three community board districts with rampant complaints about illegal parking in bike lanes closed one-third of those cases in under 15 minutes, an “implausibly fast” rate that city lawmakers say likely means there’s no enforcement.

The precincts that patrol the districts — Manhattan 5, which covers Midtown; Manhattan 10, which covers Central Harlem; and Brooklyn 6, which covers Cobble Hill to Gowanus — also accounted for two-thirds of all of the complaints closed in five minutes or less, the data showed.

Those ‘under-five-minute’ closures were singled out in a recent City Council report that documented more than a dozen where complaints filed about illegal parking that were closed without cops even inspecting the scene and reported that thousands of such cases were closed in under five minutes, a rate described as “improbably fast.”

Truck parked in bike lane
Blocked bike lanes force cyclists to venture into traffic with much heavier cars and trucks, putting them in danger.
Paul Martinka for NY Post

“Obviously, five minutes is not realistic. It’s not acceptable,” Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens) told NYPD reps during the hearing.

The Post’s analysis of the 1,240 complaints of illegal parking in bike lanes filed across the five boroughs in September zeroed in on the parts where startling fast case closures were most common.

The two precincts that patrol Manhattan 10 — the 28th and 32nd — closed nearly half of the 85 reports of illegal bike lane parking in less than 15 minutes.

Additionally, the analysis shows they nixed 24 percent of the complaints in less than five minutes.

Council Member Robert Holden
“Obviously, five minutes is not realistic. It’s not acceptable,” Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens) told NYPD reps during the hearing.
William Farrington for NY Post

To the south of Central Park, the commands that patrol Midtown’s Manhattan 5 — the 13th, 14th and 18th Precincts — combined to close 38 percent of complaints in 15 minutes or less.

The Manhattan 5 district also reported the second-highest number of cases completed in short order, closing 15 of the 93 complaints in less time than it takes for most to run a mile, the records show.

In Brooklyn’s Community Board 6, patrolled by the 76th and 78th precincts, 35 percent of complaints were closed in 15 minutes or less. And nine of those 63 complaints were closed in five minutes or less, the records show.

A general view of the NYPD's 28th police precinct stationhouse
The two precincts that patrol Manhattan 10 — the 28th and 32nd — closed nearly half of the 85 reports of illegal bike lane parking in less than 15 minutes.
Christopher Sadowski for NY Post

The fifteen-minute clearance rates posted by the precincts patrolling those three districts are at least 10 percentage points above any other in the city.

The next highest is Brooklyn’s Community Board 8 — which covers Prospect and Crown Heights — where just 24% of reports were cleared in 15 minutes or less.

The Post excluded community board districts with fewer than 10 illegal bike lane parking complaints over the month from the analysis.

Blocked bike lanes force cyclists to venture into traffic with much heavier cars and trucks, putting them in danger.

In front of 32nd NYPD precinct.
The 32nd Precinct patrols Manhattan 10, which covers Central Harlem.
Robert Miller for NY Post

“Traffic safety continues to be a priority of the NYPD, including illegally parked vehicles in public roadways,” said NYPD spokeswoman Jessica McRorie, who said that 81 minutes is the average response to an illegal parking complaint.

She said that citywide just 3.3 percent of illegal parking complaints of all types are closed in under five minutes — seemingly affirming the outlier status of the precincts identified by the Post.

Top advocates for biking called the Post’s findings “alarming” new evidence of the de Blasio administration’s failure to take cycling safety seriously — and called for City Hall to install more barriers between bike lanes and car traffic.

“This alarming data proves once again why it’s street design — and not the NYPD — that will help New York reach Vision Zero,” he said. “New York City needs truly protected bike lanes that keep illegal parking out because a blocked bike lane is a deadly bike lane.”

Cyclist rides in bike lane buffer zone
A cyclist rides in a bike lane buffer zone because cars are parked in the actual bike lane.
Helayne Seidman for NY Post

The scrutiny of cases the NYPD claims to be closing comes as the department admitted its enforcement of traffic laws plummeted to half of pre-pandemic levels — while the number of fatal crashes on city streets surged to a multi-year high as 275 people died.

“It’s very annoying,” said Juan Lopez, 32, a bike commuter and software engineer from Hell’s Kitchen. “It’s already kind of hard for us to bike around the city with the drivers being so aggressive.”

Lopez said police vehicles, in particular, appear to be parked “wherever.”

“They’re the people that are supposed to take care of everyone, and to make sure that laws are followed, and they’re the ones blocking bike lanes,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a good example for everyone else.”

A bicycle rider passes by two trucks blocking the bikes lane on 12th Street between 5th and 6th avenues.
A bicycle rider passes by two trucks blocking the bikes lane on 12th Street between 5th and 6th avenues.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Holden suggested NYPD neglects parking enforcement because the department’s own officers are often the ones breaking the law.

“Officers block crosswalks, fire hydrants routinely. Everything they block… and if you call a 311 complaint about that, what you get is ‘Oh the problem was corrected.’ They don’t tell you what the resolution was but [that] the police responded and corrected the problem,’” he said. “That’s a joke. Be honest, that’s a joke — and we’re sick of it.” 

Police officials insist their quick response times are a sign of effective law enforcement.

“There are some use cases where that would be a legitimate timeframe,” NYPD Deputy Inspector Isa Abbassi told Holden.

“The men and women of the Patrol Services Bureau and the 77 precincts are continually reminded about the importance of responding to these service requests and responding to them in an appropriate and efficient way. And part of that efficiency is in reducing our response times,” Abbassi said.

Yet officers in 2021 have closed out some 6,000-plus complaints about illegal parking, reckless driving or abandoned vehicles.

Pressed on the issue on Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said cops were wrong to dismiss the complaints.

“These are real issues and they sure as hell seem like NYPD issues to me, and I don’t think they should be dismissed,” the mayor said. “If it’s other agencies involved as well, then NYPD should help ensure that there is follow up, not somehow ignore them.” 


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