City Council vows to crack down on parking placard abuses

If Mayor Bill de Blasio won’t crack down on parking placard abuses, then the City Council will.

The council on Wednesday plans to unveil a package of five bills to rein in the government permits, which remain the source of numerous gripes despite a promise by the mayor in 2017 to go after privileged parkers who abuse them.

“Placard abuse is corruption — plain and simple — and New York City cannot tolerate it any longer,” City Council  Speaker Corey Johnson said Monday.

“We are in a transportation crisis and the question of how we allocate our street space is of paramount importance.”

One bill — co-sponsored by Johnson and Council members Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) and Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan) – would prohibit police cars and other official city vehicles from blocking bus lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks and fire hydrants unless there’s an emergency.

The trio is also co-sponsoring a separate bill requiring the city to conduct at least 50 “enforcement sweeps” weekly to be monitored by the Department of Investigation.

Sweep locations would be based on 311 complaints of illegal parking and alleged placard abuse.

Additional legislation would require the 311 hotline to begin accepting these complaints, as well as photographic evidence of parking abuses. If any incident involves an official government vehicle, the city would be required to explain what “emergency” existed to warrant a vehicle being illegally parked.

Another bill would create a standard application process for all placards.

A fifth bill would require traffic agents to call city tow units to remove vehicles blocking bike lanes, bus lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks, and fire hydrants.

Hours after the Council announced its effort, the administration said it would be releasing details of its own plan later this month — marking a second attempt in two years by de Blasio to tackle the issue.

Critics say the results have been minimal at best. In fact, the mayor issued 50,000 new placards to teachers in 2017 — rolling back reforms of the Bloomberg administration.

In 2008, the number of placards for Department of Education staffers was slashed from 63,000 to 11,000.

Seth Stein, a mayoral spokesman , said the administration will review the new Council legislation once it’s introduced, adding de Blasio “agrees that placard abuse erodes faith in government and has no place in our city.”

City officials said that since May 2017, the NYPD has beefed up enforcement of parking placard abuse by issuing 95,228 summonses and towing 203 vehicles.

The new bills will supplement an existing package introduced last year to tackle parking placard problems. Among them is a bill to raise the fine for fake placards from $250 to $500.

The mayor’s office did not immediately return messages for comment.

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