PUBLIC SPACE PARTY DECLARES VICTORY IN FIRST ACTION TO LIBERATE BIKE LANES FROM NYPD INCOMPETENCE: GETTING (POLICE) CARS OUT OF BIKE LANES
|photo by Brennan Cavanaugh|
On the morning of November 2, 2015 a group of cycling advocates set out to address perhaps the greatest hindrance to safe cycling in New York City: cars illegally parked in bike lanes. The City of New York recently celebrated installation of more than 1,000 miles of bike lanes, but they are often impeded by motor vehicles, all too often police vehicles, flouting the law.
According to the Rules of the City of New York, it is plainly illegal to park in a bike lane RCNY § 4-08 (e)(9) states that, “It is against the law to park, stand or stop within or otherwise obstruct bike lanes.” Yet, police vehicles are parked in bike lanes all over the city, from Schermerhorn Street, to Jay Street, to Coney Island, to Sixth Ave. On Schermerhorn Street, the police went as far as painting their own parking spots over the bike lane.
Throughout the action, the Public Space Party (PSP) group drew attention to this illegal and dangerous practice by the NYPD, and how it relates to the greater culture of lawlessness in the City’s police department. Each car parked in a bike lane was given a PSP “Bike Lane Parking” “tickets” reminding them of NYC traffic rules. Some 25 cars, six belong to police, were given tickets for illegally parking in a bike lane.
At the corner of Hoyt-Schermerhorn in Boerum Hill, the police acknowledged that they were in violation of the law. Asked why they were not informing the other motorists double parked there not to park in the bike lanes, they explained that it was a lot of work to do so. The police there promised to do more in the future. Other police were less interested in taking part in a conversation and walked off.
“Impunity is a key ingredient in the police violence and malfeasance being outed now in social media,” notes activist Owen Crowley, of the Public Space Party. “This is exercised in many different ways that I witness almost daily. Police cars running red lights without cause, personal cars parked illegally and encroaching into the street in front of police stations, police cars parked or standing in bike lanes. This creates hazards for pedestrians, cyclists and civilian drivers. On top of that, it is an exercise that reinforces a culture in which police are above the law.”
“With climate change looming, New York needs to move toward sustainability,” notes Benjamin Shepard, of Public Space Party. “A simple first step is safe, non-polluting transportation. Cars in bike lanes create dangerous conditions on the streets, discouraging cycling. Getting cars out of bike lanes is an essential first step in Vision Zero policing.”
For tweets, photos and videos of the action follow @ourspaceparty & @critmasspanic
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Check out Benjamin Shepard's blog for more info about the action