Downtown cops vow to give double-parkers the full-court press

Downtown cops vow to give double-parkers the full-court press
SU-flee: Sport utility vehicles bear down on a cyclist who took his life in his hands when he ventured onto Jay Street.
Community Newspaper Group / Matthew Perlman

Downtown cops are gearing up to crack down on double-parking with a ticketing spree meant to make the city’s mean streets safer.

The NYPD announced the double-parking crackdown, dubbed “Operation Move Along,” last week, and Downtown’s 84th Precinct says there is plenty of work to be done. Jay Street — especially from Fulton to Tillary streets, pictured — and nearby Court Street and Flatbush Avenue are lousy with illegally parked vehicles, according to neighborhood cops, who are ready to whip out their citation books as soon as they get the okay from higher-ups.

“With the weather warming up, Jay Street is going to be a big focus down there,” said Capt. Maximo Tolentino, the 84th Precinct’s commanding officer. “We’re going to have real zero tolerance.”

Cops surveyed eight corridors throughout the city in preparation for the clampdown, which will start on March 16 after the police department finishes warning store owners and commercial vehicle drivers to keep the streets clear. Jay Street is a particularly lawless stretch where drivers double-park over and over again despite occasional enforcement by neighborhood cops, according to Tolentino, echoing concerns raised by Jay Street bike commuters, drivers, and pedestrians at a town hall forum on Monday night.

“I can get 10 cops to sweep that street, and if they come back an hour later, it will be filled again,” he said.

The precinct issued 545 double-parking tickets in 2013 and 589 in 2012, according to Tolentino.

Court and corrections officers often double-park around the courts Downtown, a problem that could be alleviated if “traffic down there would keep moving,” Tolentino added.

A road safety activist applauded police for taking steps to combat scofflaw drivers who he says create unsafe conditions for others on the road.

“Double-parked vehicles block sight lines for pedestrians who are attempting to cross streets and they also present a danger for cyclists and other motorists,” said Brian Zumhagen, spokesman for the car critic group Transportation Alternatives.

Jay Street was voted Brooklyn’s scariest bike lane by our readers in 2012 and Downtown regulars want the city to install protected bicycle paths along both sides of the treacherous stretch to make it safer, many said at Monday night’s brainstorming session, which was hosted by Transportation Alternatives.

Police headquarters did not respond to repeated requests for comment on which other borough corridors will be targeted, if any.

The double-parking suppression effort follows a borough-wide police crackdown on jaywalkers and a series of initiatives by Park Slope’s precinct targeting reckless drivers. The campaigns are part of Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero push to bring citywide traffic deaths down to zero by 2024.

— with Matthew Perlman

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.

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