More than half of those thousands of precious parking permits in the city are either legal permits used illegally or simply illegitimate permits in the first place. And nearly one in four official parking permits are “illicitly photocopied, fraudulent or otherwise invalid.” Those are the conclusions of a Transportation Alternatives study just released.
It’s a “citywide epidemic of parking permit abuse,” the group says.
By illegal use of a legal permit, TA means double-parking or leaving their cars on sidewalks, bus lines, and bike lanes. Not surprisingly, the most permit abuse takes place in Manhattan, where competition for parking is fiercest.
Tens of thousands of officials enjoy permits that enable them to park just about wherever they want. In 2008, the Bloomberg administration slashed the number of parking permits by 46 percent, to 78,000 permits. This year, Dan Garodnick, the do-gooder councilman from Stuy Town, introduced the Authentic Permit Act, which would attempt to ensure authenticity by slapping barcodes on city permits.
To emphasize its point about the problem, TA noted:
In the case of the bomb scare in Times Square last year, the Dodge van that came under suspicion had tinted windows and no plates but a permit on its windshield claiming that its driver was a detective in the crime unit of “Metropolitan New Jersey and New York,” a nonexistent agency. The phony permit fooled the NYPD for two days, accounting for the agency’s slow response, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne later admitted.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 28, 2011