Monday, January 12, 2015

Free parking in Lower Manhattan, and how a few drivers get away with it

Parking in Manhattan, especially Lower Manhattan during regular weekdays,is impossible unless you find a garage to pay $25-35 per day or in excess of $500 a month.  Sometimes there is a need to park on street, such as a food truck or a commercial vehicle making a delivery.  However, at least three people have managed to park their personal vehicles in a specific 3 hour commercial metered parking zone across from Battery Park, and get away with it by simply displaying a hand made sign, saving them the cost of a parking garage or a traffic ticket, unless someone like me calls 311 on the latter to report an illegally parked vehicle.

The vehicles with NY passenger plates, are parked on the south side of Bridge Street, between State and Whitehall Streets, along an area where there is 3 hour metered parking along most of the south side of Bridge.  The passenger vehicles are usually parked during weekdays when  the street is reserved for commercial vehicle parking, a passenger vehicle with a NYC disability permit or certain other permits issued by the city, such as a film permit.  These vehicles do not have any permits, only a handmade sign on the vehicle's dashboard showing SEE AGENT AT THE BOOTH, THANK YOU - - indicating that the vehicle belongs to someone who works at the "booth" across Bridge Street (the rear of the National Museum of the American Indian, a Federal building).  Today's vehicle, a white Honda Odyssey, was first observed today (1/12) on Bridge Street, midblock, at 7:25 AM, then moved closer to State Street at 12:30 PM that afternoon (when I went outside during my lunch hour to see the vehicle).  The SEE AGENT AT THE BOOTH placard is visible on the windshield, next to the vehicle stickers. 


So I reported this illegally parked vehicle at 7:35 AM, 10 minutes after my first observation.  NYPD receives my complaint hours later then lets me know at 2 PM that no evidence of a violation occurred. 

But at 4:10 PM today, I saw not only that Honda still illegally parking in the same commercial vehicle parking zone but ANOTHER vehicle with passenger plats (using DAV or Disabled American Veteran - a vanity plate) as well.   Both passenger vehicles had the invalid SEE AGENT AT THE BOOTH, THAN YOU. sign.  This video, also taken today, shows the sign where there is 3 hour commercial metered parking, Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM.

The NYPD has totally ignored this problem for months.  I first reported illegal parking on Bridge Street (using the SEE AGENT placards on passenger vehicles) since May, 2014.  The placards are used to alert the NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent (TEA) that the person who owns/leases the vehicle works at the booth across Bridge Street, thus giving him free parking in Lower Manhattan on weekdays and immunity from any tickets.  Responses from the NYPD, such as this picture below, are typical of them ignoring this problem which deprives commercial drivers of a legitimate parking space as well as the city of revenue when these commercial drivers use the meters to pay for the time while parked. 

It took some time until the NYPD finally took action and issued a parking summons for the Toyota Sienna pictures above.   That is until today, I saw the other two vehicles illegally parked and once again the NYPD is ignoring the problem while these drivers get away with free parking in Lower Manhattan for life. 

I will provide any blog updates if the NYPD finally took their heads out of ground and started issuing tickets.  (wish me luck on this, given the NYPD slowdown in enforcement).

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