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City Hall in Your Borough: Mayor de Blasio Announces New Plan to Crack Down on Parking Placard Fraud and Abuse

May 24, 2017

Tough enforcement, including a new NYPD unit, will include fines, strict work-related penalties, and towing

THE BRONX, NY—Alongside NYPD, DOT and DOE officials at Concourse Village Elementary School in the Bronx, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a new Citywide enforcement plan to crack down on the improper use of City parking placards.

“In our increasingly crowded city, parking placard abuse is contributing to traffic congestion,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “However, more important, when drivers with placards block crosswalks, fire hydrants or bike lanes, they endanger public safety as well. Few things irk New Yorkers more than their fellow citizens taking advantage of a system that was designed to aid in public service delivery. Instead, placard abuse is starting to erode faith in the integrity of government, so we are taking action today to make things right.”  

Speakers today noted that the problems created by placard abuse include reduced wheelchair accessibility to the curb, reduced parking spaces for authorized users, and reduced revenue from parking meters. The City is committed to reducing the improper and fraudulent use of parking placards across the five boroughs, particularly in civic centers where public employee workplaces are clustered and around schools, where school employees with new parking placards will be competing for a limited set of authorized parking spaces. 

Effective immediately, New York City will: 

Implement Strict Controls for New DOE Parking Placards.

This month, to resolve an outstanding dispute, the DOE issued 50,000 new parking placards for school employees working at schools with designated street space. The DOE will be implementing strict new controls for parking placards to minimize illegal or improper parking behavior.

  • New DOE Placard Unit: DOE will create a new office responsible for issuing placards annually and auditing schools for proper accounting of the placards. This unit will also receive complaints and take disciplinary action against staff for placard abuse. 
  • Tight restrictions on DOE staff placard use: All placards will only be authorized for clearly designated DOE parking spots at specific schools during school hours. The license plate of the vehicle, name of the permit holder and authorized signature will all be clearly displayed and visible for inspection. Placards will be non-transferrable under any circumstance. 
  • Tough penalties: Any placard found to be misused, fraudulent, copied or altered will result in the placard holder being subject to discipline in addition to placard revocation and permanent ineligibility for placards. Cars using placards improperly will be subject to towing and additional towing capacity will be available to tow vehicles using placards illegally. These rules will be shared with and signed-for by all DOE employees receiving the new placards.

Pursue Tough New Enforcement Actions to Crack Down on Placard Fraud and Abuse Across All City Agencies.

DOT and NYPD will pursue new enforcement actions to crack down on placard forgery/counterfeiting and abuse across all City agencies, including creating a new anti-placard-fraud unit at NYPD. As DOT proceeds with its annual re-issuance of placards, the agency will continue to identify ways to incorporate enhanced anti-forgery protections.

  • New, empowered unit focused on public integrity in parking privileges: The NYPD will create a dedicated unit that reports to the Chief of Department that will consist of 16 dedicated enforcement personnel in the Transportation Bureau Citywide Task Force to identify counterfeit placards and misuse at hotspots in every borough. 
  • Additional 100 Traffic Enforcement Agents for placard enforcement citywide: The NYPD will hire an additional hundred traffic agents for deployment citywide. 
  • Create new anti-placard enforcement imperative among Borough Investigation Units: The Citywill task Borough Investigation Units (approximately 100 officers across all five boroughs) to identify placard abuse and unauthorized use in local boroughs around precincts, courthouses and government buildings.
  • New Towing Capacity: The City will add additional towing capacity to tow vehicles that are using placards fraudulently or illegally. 
  • New sanctions and penalties for placard fraud or abuse: Any placard found to be misused, fraudulent, copied or altered will result in the placard holder being subject to permanent ineligibility for placards. City employees found abusing placards will be turned over to DOI for investigation. As noted, all placards will be re-issued annually.
  • New penalties for fraudulent usage: The City will create a new parking fine for the misuse of placards, punishable by a fine of up to $100, which is in addition to the parking violation. Employees are currently subject to disciplinary action for placard fraud or abuse. Disciplinary action may include placard revocation, permanent ineligibility for parking privileges, discipline, suspension, or termination. 

Lay The Groundwork for Long-Term Technological Solutions.

DOT will explore development of a unified system for management, enforcement and tracking of both placards and metered parking payments tied to license plate numbers. Best practices in cities across the world include license plate reader technology that can scan all vehicles on a block for paid parking sessions or legal parking permits and automatically generate appropriate violations if necessary. Such a system would provide an added measure of fraud prevention and allow for greater efficiency in enforcement by allowing agents to cover more ground.

In order to help spread the word on the heightened rules and regulations concerning placard usage, the City will launch a public awareness campaign to help educate City employees. The campaign will reinforce the City’s zero tolerance for placard and fraud abuse and the associated penalties for engaging in such behavior, including towing, new fines and permanent revocation of parking privileges. It will also encourage members of the public who observe parking placard violations to call 311 to report them.

“This new initiative will help ensure our City streets are kept clear and that privileges are not abused,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “The Department of Transportation’s new security features on City placards will also assist the Department with enforcement of forgeries and non-official placards.”

"The increasing abuse of placards has increased congestion in some of our City's busiest areas," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "However, placard abuse does far worse: it also decreases street accessibility and safety, causes financial loss, and challenges the very notions of fairness and equity that government is sworn to uphold. I look forward to working with our partners at the NYPD on a critical effort to tackle this problem."

“School staff has clear guidance regarding parking permit usage, and we continue to work in close partnership with the NYPD and DOT to monitor school-based permits,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “We will remain vigilant in ensuring all permits are being carefully tracked and appropriately used.”

"Placard abuse is rampant in our city so this crackdown is welcome news," said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "Not only is this a violation of the public trust, but it endangers New Yorkers and hurts our city's efforts to combat climate change and traffic deaths. When people are forced to pay for the parking they use, they are less incentivized to drive. At the same time, when drivers feel they can park anywhere without consequences, they often end up in bike lanes, bus stops, crosswalks and other spaces that create hazardous conditions for all New Yorkers. It's time to crack down on this behavior and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for this effort."

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