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Cyclists sick of 88th Precinct cars in bike lane, CO claims he can’t do anything about it

Blocked: Squad cars at the 88th Precinct in Clinton Hill are jutting into the bike lane.
Brooklyn Paper
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Cyclists are fed up with officers from Clinton Hill’s 88th Precinct parking their cars across the bike lane on DeKalb Avenue, and are demanding the cops cut it out before someone gets hurt.

“When you ride your bike up DeKalb you have to swerve out in traffic,” said Dara Furlow, a Clinton Hill resident who regularly uses the lane. “People are trying to be safe and ride their bikes and I think they’re impeding public safety.”

Police park cars halfway across the sidewalk between Classon Avenue and Steuben Street, leaving them jutting out into the pedaling path, which the city installed in 2008.

The precinct’s commanding officer says he’s well aware of the problem — the station gets at least one complaint a week, plus angry tweets — but claims Clinton Hill’s Finest can’t go driving around the neighborhood for hours looking for a spot and need their cars close by so they can spring into action quickly.

They also can’t move the vehicles any farther back onto the pavement because they have to keep it partially clear for pedestrians, he said.

“I’m definitely sensitive to the complaints and recognize that it’s not the best design, we’re just trying to come up with a solution,” said Cpt. John Buttacavoli. “You back the car up too much, it blocks pedestrians, move it forward and now I’m blocking bikes.”

The precinct did introduce a policy three weeks ago requiring staffers to park their personal vehicles on the non-bike-lane side of the street, according to Buttacavoli, but Furlow said she hasn’t noticed any difference.

The 100-year-old station house doesn’t have its own parking lot, although nearby Pratt Institute has agreed to let staffers use some of its spaces for their personal cars.

But between the precinct’s 27 squad cars and at least 50 employees who drive their own cars to work on each shift — while just two cycle — there still isn’t enough parking in the area to go around, Buttacavoli says, especially during changeover when there is sometimes 100 employees at the station with vehicles.

“Parking is tough, even if you decide to park elsewhere you’re going to circle around the block,” he said.

But cyclists say the officers are setting a dangerous example to regular drivers by using their parking privileges to block bike lanes when it isn’t an emergency.

“Police are supposed to be enforcing the law,” said a bike messenger who identified himself only as Matthew because he didn’t want to compromise his job. “Most of the time they’re in there, they’re not in an emergency, and it’s kind of setting a bad example,

If they can’t find a safe way to park outside the precinct, they need to find a new way to get to work, one rider says.

“This may require our city’s finest to compete with parking with the rest of us, take public transportation, or ride a bike to work, but the benefit to public safety would certainly be worth it,” said neighborhood resident Shawn Onsgard.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Alan from PLG says:
It's outrageous how many police in Brooklyn regularly park on the sidewalk. Cops should lead by example and follow the law.

Every time I see NYPD parked on the sidewalk like this I think to myself: this is the sign of a rotten, corrupt institution that does not care about the law or anyone's safety but their own.
Dec. 28, 2016, 7:45 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Awwwwww.
Dec. 28, 2016, 9:31 am
Tyson White says:
The city should provide an orderly solution to this. This doesn't do good for anyone. Perhaps a bike lane adjacent to the sidewalk on the other side of the police cruisers?
Dec. 28, 2016, 10:08 am
Rob from Williamsburg says:
Police officers should ride bikes.
Dec. 28, 2016, 10:32 am
Alex Shamy from Clinton Hill says:
“You back the car up too much, it blocks pedestrians, move it forward and now I’m blocking bikes.”

They currently block both.

Huge double standard here. That intersection is a nightmare. Classon needs a bike lane and NYPD needs to legally park like the rest of us.
Dec. 28, 2016, 10:44 am
Pootie Buht from Harlem says:
Someone should give these CLOWNS a speeding ticket for how they're parked!!!!

Ha ha ha!!!!!
Dec. 28, 2016, 11:01 am
InTheSlope from Park Slope says:
the 88th needs to contact the 78th the 78th has solved theses parking issues & blocking bike lanes, 718-636-6411 ask for CO DI Frank DiGiacomo
Dec. 28, 2016, 11:14 am
LK from Fort Greene says:
Shocking that police needs are more important than having the full bike lane available. DOT keeps removing parking spaces making it more difficult for everyone to park.

88th is my precinct and my priority is for them to be able to respond quickly to problems.
Dec. 28, 2016, 11:27 am
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
Police can take the train to work like everyone else. These are private cars, not emergency vehicles.
Dec. 28, 2016, 12:41 pm
Joe from Bed-Stuy says:
I've noticed that problem with the bike lane and I'm tired of being forced to walk on the bumpy cobblestone path because they are parked on top of the sidewalk. If the cops think they have to drive to work they should deal with the inconvenience of parking legally just like everyone else.
Dec. 28, 2016, 12:57 pm
Anthony Caputo from Red Hook says:
Many years ago, before the high income folks moved to Clinton Hill, the police gave up part of the raise they were due to receive, in order to get the parking permits to park close to the station house.
At contact time, they get percentage raises based on thier current salary. Over the years that amount they gave way back than, would have increased thier salary every time they got a raise. So you see, at this time, they are paying thousands of dollars a year to park there.
How much does it cost you to ride your bike?
Dec. 28, 2016, 1:01 pm
Tim from Carroll Gardens says:
Why not angle park across the street and repaint the traffic lane to accommodate? Would seem to solve the problem for cyclists and preserve the parking requirements of the 88.
Dec. 28, 2016, 1:02 pm
Joe from Clinton Hill says:
There are two separate issues here: the private vehicles and the squad cars. Even if all the private vehicles belonging to 88th employees use the Pratt parking lot as offered, there are still 27 squad cars that need parking places in close proximity to the station house. Rather than park on the sidewalk for lack of a parking lot, why not have the City reserve 27 nearby curbside spaces for the cruisers? That way, they wouldn't interfere with either pedestrians OR the bike lane. And yes, as far as the private vehicles are concerned, those employees should either accept Pratt's offer of parking elsewhere or find another way to get to work. Their owners aren't entitled to park illegally just because they happen to work at the 88th. This illegal sidewalk-hogging parking for both types of vehicles has existed at the 88th for decades -it's nothing new. BTW, the 88th Pct station house was recently landmarked, and it's my understanding that eventually the precinct will have to move elsewhere for more space anyway.
Dec. 28, 2016, 1:03 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Because the cops would just park their private cars at any curbside reserved Parking. Btw this is called combat Parking so that the rmp cars are ready for a quick take off rmp means radio motor patrol. Almost every precinct parks that way. Most don't have a bike lane...
Dec. 28, 2016, 4:15 pm
S from Greenpoint says:
Combat parking is not legal, and not guaranteed by any contract.
Dec. 28, 2016, 4:35 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Although I do feel the way the cops are parking their cars are wrong, they are making use of a bike lane that doesn't even get used a lot by cyclists most of the year, and a flash mob from TA doesn't count.
Dec. 28, 2016, 5:08 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
This is "Traffic Calming" for the bikers.
Dec. 28, 2016, 5:13 pm
Lucas from Clinton Hill says:
What a great idea, put the NYPD on bikes! When a 911 call comes in, guj attack underway, someone being stabbed, let the cops hop their trusty bikes and ride to the rescue! I think hospitals also should junk their ambulances for bikes. So much safer, saving the world from carbon dioxide. If a few people die from being draped over the handle bars of an NYPD bicycle or ambulance bicycle, think of all the lives being saved from not being poisoned by official vehicles. Totally worth a few deaths here and there. Who the hell do those police and ambulance drivers think they are? Heroes or livesavers or something? Bikers are the heroes! They are saving THE WORLD!!!
Dec. 28, 2016, 9:17 pm
Bob from Brooklyn says:
I understand having the cruisers parked close by, but why can't the cops take public transportation to work like the majority of us do to eliminate their personal cars being parked there?
Dec. 28, 2016, 10:43 pm
Captain Block from 53 Pct says:
Wait, wait-- there's no subway nearby? Used to be cops actually lived IN THE CITY, Brooklyn even.
Dec. 29, 2016, 2:01 am
sidewalks more important from Brooklyn says:
Bike paths are far less important than sidewalks and other priority roadway functions.

- We need all the sidewalks cleared first.
- We need the roads to function for cars and trucks second.
- We need all the "proper" parking third (in this case - parallel parking).
- We need all the bike lanes last.

Set the priorities and everything falls into place.
Dec. 29, 2016, 6:55 am
Conchita Lopez from Sunset Park says:
Not only do they park bad, they drive to fast. What's the rush?! Someone should tell them to slow down. Enjoy life. It's not a race.
Dec. 29, 2016, 8:59 am
Carl from Park Slope says:
Conchita has it right, NYPD. What's your rush? A 911 call comes in about a crime in progress, take your time responding. As Conchita so astutely says, what's the rush? Enjoy!
Dec. 29, 2016, 9:20 am
Ken from Greenpoint says:
a bike lane should not be in front of any police station in the first place.....
Dec. 29, 2016, 3:35 pm
Jay from Downtown says:
Take the subway or bus! Everyone else does!
Dec. 29, 2016, 3:57 pm
Matt from Greeenpoint says:
There is not enough room for all of their vehicles.
Also, why is there a bike lane there in the first place?
Dec. 29, 2016, 5:47 pm
Carl from Park Slope says:
Jay is so right! A 911 call about a crime in progress ones in, the cops shouldget to the scene by subway or bus. "Everyone else does!" In Jay's eyes first responders ahould take public transportation. Excellent idea!
Dec. 29, 2016, 6:39 pm
UC Det in a Hockey Jersey from 12th Pct says:
The stupidity of this site never ceases to surpass itself-- an achievement, mazel tov!!

Civililian NYPD workerd and many cops should be taking mass transit to work like anyone else in the city-- end of story.

RMPs and undercover cars do need to be accessible.
Dec. 30, 2016, 1:22 am
old time brooklyn from slope says:
snowflakes - grow up - if you want to drive go ahead - if you have a deal on parking use it
Dec. 30, 2016, 3:48 am
Samir Kabir from Downtown says:
Hmm. Police or bicyclists? Which is more important to the community? Gosh, I have to think long and hard about that one. NOT!
Dec. 30, 2016, 5:44 am
Jay from Brooklyn says:
Samir kabir: are you still thinking?
Dec. 30, 2016, 11:09 am
Observation from Atlantic yards says:
How about better city planning where our NYPD has room for their vehicles? More precincts were built ages ago when there was no population boom. Times have changed and NYPD has same facilities, yet the city does nothing to alleviate the park issue in every borough. Of course, the mayors office will not speak up when it comes to empty lots near precincts that could solve the problem.
Dec. 30, 2016, 12:54 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Observation, the problem with developers is that they don't think about what existed then to get what they want built, and the Atlantic Yards, which is now called Pacific Park, is an example of just that.
Dec. 30, 2016, 4:55 pm
Stacey from Red hook says:
If there were more women in the police, this wouldn't be such a problem.
Dec. 31, 2016, 5:07 pm
L&L from Brooklyn says:
Liberals are very humorous.
Jan. 14, 2017, Noon
DR from orginal Clinton Hill owner says:
First of all, There should not be a bike lane there in the first place. The cops have to park their car in front of the station. They should take away the bike lane from near the station and the problem solved.
Feb. 23, 2017, 1:03 pm
Chaka Taylor says:
Has anyone notice the parking sign on Dekalb Ave and Classon right hand side of the street on Dekalb Ave in front of the sc8. It's no parking on school days. The 88 pct is supposed to be parking on the left hand side of the street where it says police department. Why are they using all 4 corners Dekalb Ave and Classon ?
March 2, 2017, 10:46 pm
djx from Harlem says:
"The cops have to park their car in front of the station. "
Sure, police cars should be parked in near the station. But not private cars, unless
it's some kind of explicit benefit in their contracts. And if they're getting free parking, they should be paying taxes on that benefit.

Or take subways and/or pay for parking like everyone else.
June 21, 2017, 3:05 pm
djx from Harlem says:
"Police or bicyclists? Which is more important to the community? "

Hmmm, the police's convenience or public safety. Which is more important?
June 21, 2017, 3:06 pm

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