New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Margaret S. Chin, Robert Holden, Keith Powers, and Ritchie Torres announced a new package of bills to be introduced on Wednesday, February 13, intended to crack down on the abuse of City-issued parking permits known as placards, as well as unofficial and counterfeit permits and placards also used to skirt the law. This package also addresses dangerous parking practices often associated with placards, including blocking bike and bus lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks, and fire hydrants. This new slate of Council bills is designed to supplement a legislative package introduced in 2018 that similarly attempted to rein in placard abuse, which included bills sponsored by Council Members Chin, Peter Koo, Ydanis Rodriguez, and Jumaane Williams.
“Placard abuse is corruption, plain and simple, and New York City cannot tolerate it any longer,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “We are in a transportation crisis and the question of how we allocate our street space is of paramount importance. As we try to fight congestion and encourage modes of transportation like buses and cycling, it is clear that cracking down on placard abuse has to be part of any serious attempt to make navigating our City easier and more efficient for all New Yorkers.”
“Placard abuse has become the norm throughout many neighborhoods, including on the already heavily congested streets of Lower Manhattan, particularly in Chinatown and Battery Park City,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “We cannot allow the status quo to continue if we are to ensure the safety of our streets for pedestrians and the general public. I proudly join Speaker Johnson and my fellow Council Members to introduce a new package of bills which will address this problem and serve to ease the transportation crisis facing our City. These new bills will urge City Hall to take placard abuse seriously and invest in strong and smart enforcement measures to hold serial placard abusers accountable.”
“As a civic leader for over 30 years, I have fought against drivers who skirt our parking laws, create more congestion and put others in danger,” said Council Member Robert F. Holden. “I am proud to partner with Speaker Corey Johnson and my colleagues in the New York City Council in combatting placard abuse and individuals who believe they are above the law and can park wherever they please. Parking in crosswalks and blocking sidewalks and hydrants will no longer be tolerated, and should be dealt with immediately.”
“Placard misuse and abuse has gotten out of hand in New York City, contributing to congested streets and adding to public mistrust. The legislation being introduced will help bring much-need clarity to parking in New York City, including my bill to standardize the application process. Thank you to Speaker Johnson and my colleagues for working together to crackdown on placard abuse,” said Council Member Keith Powers.
“Placard abuse and associated corruptive practices, such as blocking sidewalks and bus and bike lanes, is inexcusable. It’s the City of New York’s responsibility to hold whomever is at fault, accountable. I’ve worked on this issue for many years and I hope this bill package is approved swiftly by the Council,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Transportation Committee.
“The misuse of placards and parking permits has gotten out of control and threatens street safety. This comprehensive package will rein in placard abuse and ensure they are properly used and distributed. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass these bills and curb placard abuse,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.
This new legislative package includes five separate bills that together represent the strongest and most comprehensive attempt to rein in placard abuse in City history. The bills would:
Create a standardized application process for City-issued parking permits and collect information on why placards are requested and how their use supports a City agency. (Sponsored by Council Member Powers and Speaker Johnson).
Require at least 50 targeted enforcement sweeps each week with monitoring by the Department of Investigation. Sweep locations would be determined by 311 complaints regarding placard abuse and would be documented with photographs and details on all enforcement action taken. (Sponsored by Speaker Johnson and Council Members Torres and Chin)
Require enforcement officers to call for towing of any vehicle blocking a sidewalk, crosswalk, fire hydrant, bike lane, or bus lane (Sponsored by Council Member Holden and Speaker Johnson)
Prohibit official City vehicles from blocking a bike lane, bus lane, crosswalk, sidewalk, or fire hydrant unless it is an emergency. (Sponsored by Speaker Johnson and Council Members Torres and Chin)
Require 311 to accept complaints and photographs related to illegal parking and placard abuse. The City would be required to respond to complaints about blocking a bike lane, bus lane, crosswalk, sidewalk, or fire hydrant and explain why an emergency existed. (Sponsored by Speaker Johnson and Council Members Torres and Chin)
These bills are designed to supplement an existing package of legislation introduced in 2018 that also deals with the problem of placard abuse. The bills that were introduced in 2018 are:
Int. 596 (Sponsored by Council Member Williams): Increasing the penalty for a fake placard from $250 to $500.
Int. 314 (Sponsored by Council Member Rodriguez): Requiring reporting on placard misuse by the New York Police Department.
Int. 942 (Sponsored by Council Member Koo): Requiring a plan on distribution of placards.
Int. 932 (Sponsored by Council Member Chin): Providing for the revocation of placards for misuse.
Int. 927 (Sponsored by Speaker Johnson): Creates a system to track misuse of placards.