A Queens Councilman is pushing a bill that would make it more of a priority for the city police department to tow vehicles illegally parked in crosswalks and other areas.
"I just can't believe how many people are parking in crosswalks and double-parking and blocking bike lanes and hydrants," said Robert Holden, the Republican councilman introducing the bill. "In fact, it's gotten so bad in certain areas of the city, parking at hydrants, that FDNY is telling me they can't find the hydrants."
The City Council's Transportation Committee was set to consider the measures Tuesday.
The bill would make it more of a priority for police to tow vehicles that block sidewalks, crosswalks, fire hydrants, or bus and bike lanes.
The NYPD already has the authority to tow cars in sidewalks, crosswalks, fire hydrants, or bus and bike lanes, but police usually ticket instead of tow, mainly because the NYPD doesn't have enough tow trucks and tow pounds.
The council is still trying to solve that issue. Holden's bill would give more discretion to the officer to have a vehicle towed if it's creating a safety hazard or blocking buses.
Some New Yorkers drivers hope the crackdown is not too aggressive:
New Yorker: It's definitely wrong because a lot of people take two seconds to do something.
Vertuccio: So if you're only parked there for a short while, they should leave the vehicle alone?
New Yorker: Yeah. But, of course, if it's there a while, then it's different.
"Bike lane, I don't know," another man said. "There's a lot of discrepancy about that because the bike lanes, there's so many of them. But we have to be watching out for them."
Holden's bill also is part of a broader effort by the council and the de Blasio administration to crack down on so-called placard abuse, the problem of city employees abusing their dashboard parking permits — for example, to park in bus lanes, which is not allowed even with a placard.
Holden's legislation also would also require the NYPD to report each year how many police department cars are caught parking illegally.
"We want this to stop," the councilman said. "It's not only the cops; there's placard abuse all over."
Holden is sponsoring another bill that would allow the city to stencil in the street where hydrants are located to help the FDNY locate hydrants that are not visible because of illegally-parked cars.
The councilman's bill is among several making their way through the City Council as part of the city's crackdown on placard abuse. Two of those bills passed about two weeks ago.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the crackdown earlier this year.