Double trouble! Slope cops turn focus to ticketing drivers parked in bike lanes

Double perk-ing! Cop blocks Greenpoint bike lane for a pick-me-up
Community Newspaper Group

Park Slope cops are doing double-parking duty.

The neighborhood’s 78th Precinct, which has rolled out a slew of road safety initiatives since the year began, kicked off yet another one on Monday. This time around, local officers are prowling the streets looking to ticket drivers blocking bike lanes, a problem cyclists say is rampant.

“Anyone who rides a bike in New York City encounters this issue on an all-too-frequent basis,” Park Slope Street Safety Partnership founder Eric McClure said.

The citation blitz comes on the heels of an undercover sting operation targeting drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and an audit of area crossing guards. This crackdown will focus on busy, bike-lane-lined thoroughfares such as Fifth Avenue, according to a 78th Precinct spokesman.

Another cyclist and road safety activist says that when oblivious drivers park in bike-ways, it creates a death trap for two-wheelers.

“On my bike ride through Park Slope yesterday, I was forced to exit the bike lane several times because it was obstructed by a parked vehicle,” said Keegan Stephan, a member of the car critic group Right of Way. “Each time was terrifying, and frankly, could have resulted in my death, as aggressive drivers attempted to pass rather than yielding.”

The precinct has said it is pushing street safety as a response to Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2024.

In 2012, a renegade cyclist, sick of seeing police cars parked across a stretch of Bergen Street bike lane outside the 78th Precinct station house, erected a string of traffic cones to keep the scofflaw cops out. Remarkably, the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, responded by putting up police barricades in the place of the cones, making the vigilante’s barrier semi-permanent.

Police spokespeople said they could not provide data on how often drivers are ticketed for parking in bike lanes.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.