Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + project FAQ (pinned post)

What if neighbors enforced Barclays Center-area parking violations? (Would be problematic, but city needs to step up)

On the night of a well-attended concert or special event at the Barclays Center, it's easy to find illegally parked or idling vehicles on the blocks in the radius of the Barclays Center.

They would seem to offer an obvious revenue opportunity if fines were imposed, yet enforcement has never been a priority of the New York Police Department.

By now, nearly seven years later, it seems a de facto policy, slack given to allow the arena to function after being shoehorned into a site abutting residential neighborhoods.

That's led to all sorts of proposals for better enforcement, which, after all, could lead to new city revenue.

Citizen enforcement?

A 6/20/19 New York Times article, Citizens on Patrol: What if Your Neighbor Could Give You a Parking Ticket?, concerned the possibility that residents of Washington, DC could help enforce parking laws.

From the article:
If the plan is adopted, 80 residents would be trained to use their cellphones to snap photographs of vehicles parked illegally in crosswalks, bicycle lanes, fire lanes, bus stops and the like. They would then use a special app to submit the images, which would be time-stamped and geotagged, for review by a city employee. If the report is found to be legitimate, the city would mail the registered owner of the vehicle a ticket, the way it does for violations caught by red-light cameras.
Vehicle owners would have the right to appeal the parking tickets, but would have little to go on to seek retribution: the tickets would not specify which resident enforcer had submitted the photos.
There's a certain logic to this: in Washington, as is too often in New York City, law enforcement arrives too late to see the violations. And citizens do help enforce parking in Malibu, Cal.

The problem with citizen enforcement, the article explained, is that it could lead to vendettas, the failure to recognize extenuating circumstances, and racial profiling.

Times commenters

Several commenters on the Times article urged caution, with one suggesting there would "be racially charged conflicts and abuses of power by the score." Another suggested that "you also don't want to turn the public into a vigilante group."

Others were more positive, suggesting that it would help ticket the numerous double parked and illegally parked delivery vehicles, delivering revenue for public transit. Another suggested bounties for private citizens, who see the numerous violations ignored by authorities.

A better solution to an old problem

That said, in New York City, an improved version of 311 (or even an app for illegal parking and traffic violations), plus more enforcement agents, could improve the situation. It's a matter of political will. We've known that since the arena opened in September 2012.

As I wrote, after a public meeting in October 2012, the commanding officer of the 78th Precinct was reluctant to assign officers to "TLC [Taxi and Limousine Commission] issues," understandably prioritizing crimefighting, and said "Enforcement is part of the answer, but it's not the solution. The solution is to give them a place."

The flaw in that reasoning is that the Barclays Center doesn't have much margin for error. (And now that the Brooklyn Nets look a lot stronger, with more ticket sales and attendance, that margin for error will narrow.)

At that meeting, numerous residents complained about arena delivery trucks idling on residential streets and taking those streets instead of truck routes, as well as loading at grade rather than below the arena.

Asked if there were remedies for nonperformance regarding trucks, David Anderson, then the arena's General Manager, said they didn't have any penalty, but arena officials were trying to educate the drivers. “For concerts, trust me, it's stressful on us, when you try to tell a guy who drives a truck for 20 hours a day to keep moving or whatever, a lot of guys are pretty hardcore,” he acknowledged. “So, we are pushing them, but I think we'll get there. I know we’ll get there--we have no choice.”

In other words, the arena too was reluctant to get into confrontations. But others then bear the brunt of the problem.