An Attempt at Placard Reform

As we all know, the abuse of parking placards, both real and fake, is rampant in this area. I have no doubt that on any given weekday, I could find at least 500 placards in Tribeca being used to park in areas reserved for other vehicles (or no vehicles at all). Finally, someone is trying to do something about the problem. I’ll just run the press release from yesterday, or at least the pertinent parts…. Before I do that, I have one point to make: Enforcement is key, but will the NYPD ever really enforce placard reforms that necessarily include its own abuses, including the way its union gives “get out of jail free” cards for its members to hand out to friends and family?

Council Member Margaret S. Chin joined community leaders from Lower Manhattan and across the city this morning to demand greater transparency and stronger enforcement rules to curb the flagrant abuse of City-issued parking placard permits in neighborhoods grappling with growing street congestion, traffic safety issues and parking scarcity.

“Addressing placard abuse isn’t just about preserving valuable parking spaces for residents and small businesses—it’s about restoring the community’s trust in City government,” said Council Member Chin. “While the misuse of City-issued placards is on the rise, there are no clear guidelines for how many violations lead to the revocation of your placard. While the City has made some progress in bringing this issue to light, we need to remind placard abusers that placards are a privilege—not an unfettered right. I am proud to join my Council colleagues to strengthen the efforts to end placard abuse by sponsoring a bill to define clear ground rules for placard parking enforcement where little has existed before.”

Today, the Council’s Committee on Transportation heard a package of bills that address the improper and illegal usage of parking permits, which includes legislation by Council Member Chin that requires the City to immediately and permanently revoke the placard of anyone guilty of misusing the permit more than three times in a calendar year or using a fraudulent placard once. Another piece of legislation, introduced by Council Member Peter Koo, would urge transparency in the process by requiring the City to develop a comprehensive plan to define the creation and distribution of City-issued placards.

Even after Council Members pressed for more details on the City’s recent efforts on enforcement, City officials could not provide a clear number for how many placards were revoked in 2017 as a result of misuse.

“Placard abuse is a growing problem on our city streets in which many now believe their placards are a right they are entitled to, rather than a privilege to be used under very specific restrictions,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “Such misuse not only clogs our streets with illegally parked vehicles, but it also creates resentment and distrust of those authorities allowed to use the placards. The entire system needs to be clearly defined, regulated and enforced in order to curb what is tantamount to a culture of corruption.”

“No one is above the law. When parking spots reserved for local businesses and neighbors are taken up illegally it leads to more congestion, traffic safety concerns, and impacts local businesses,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “I’m proud to sponsor legislation with Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez to require the Department of Transportation to implement a citywide residential parking permit system—we need to preserve more parking for local residents, which goes hand in glove with better enforcement of regulations that serve the community. Thank you to Council Member Chin for calling on the City to do better in responding to the improper usage of placards to blatantly flout traffic rules.”



  1. Finally! It’s absolutely pathetic that we struggle with delivery’s on White street because there’s no room for a truck to unload for us. The entire neighborhood is plagued cars with these “parking permits”. There’s even to many legitimate ones…Why should all these entitled city workers get a Prius to clog our streets preventing our businesses to succeed?

  2. Eric —

    You ask, “Will NYPD ever really enforce placard reforms that necessarily include its own abuses?” The answer is, of course, No … not until the public demands that the mayor act.

    While we can all admire CM Chin’s and her council colleagues’ brave words, Streetsblog has this reality check:

    “In testimony before the City Council transportation committee today [June12], NYPD Director of Legislative Affairs Oleg Chernyavsky batted away efforts by city council members to reform the system. Intro 942, proposed by Council Member Peter Koo, would task the Department of Transportation with coming up with a “comprehensive plan” for the distribution and use of city-issued placards.

    “The department believes in reforming the parking permit system,” Chernyavsky said. “However, we are concerned with this legislation as it leaves the determination of how many parking permits the NYPD requires to another agency.” He expressed further “concern” that such a plan would limit the number of permits the NYPD can issue.

    “Chernyavsky also opposed the three other placard-related bills on the agenda.

    “Intro. 927, which would create an electronic tracking system for city-issued placards, would pose a “security” risk by putting NYPD information in a database outside of the agency’s control. It would also entail “a significant amount of work,” he said. Intro. 932, which would revoke the placard of any driver caught misusing their placard three or more times in a year, should be “best left to the agency’s internal disciplinary process.” And Intro. 314, requiring NYPD to compile quarterly placard abuse reports “cannot currently be accomplished with our existing capabilities.”

    “In other words, leave everything up to NYPD, and don’t expect any transparency whatsoever.

    “Neither Chernyavsky nor NYPD Traffic Enforcement District Commanding Officer Deputy Chief Michael Pilecki offered insight into how the bills could be amended to support their purported goal of placard reform.”

    The full Streetsblog post is here: But the headline in the link says it all.

  3. Placards for residents. Everybody can park except the people who live here. Our quality of life is deteriorated by an insane amount of factors downtown.

  4. Favorite placard seen in FiDi last fall was on a late model Bently Convertible with PA plates using an NYPD detective’s placard parked in a commercial delivery zone.

  5. Same Leonard street all placards all day they even park them unused on weekends like leonard street is their personal parking lot. I can’t get deliveries or pickups for my business it’s very difficult I’ve been told it’s all city workers and FBI cars and the police won’t do anything. There was one car with fbi placard for months in front of my building never moved. I finally called the fbi and they actually said the agent was on assignment and they moved it but it took at least two months.