City will phase out parking placards starting now

This seems like a major departure from business-as-usual, but I can’t wait to hear what you all think.

The news from Chinatown yesterday: the city is phasing out parking placards for city employees and has already started replacing them with little green windshield stickers in an attempt to cut down on the abuse going on now around here and downtown Brooklyn. And, to avoid fraud, the mayor is also cutting the NYPD out of the enforcement effort; from now on city DOT will be in charge of ticketing and issuing the stickers, which are already being piloted around the city. Within a year, commissioners hope to have the whole paper placard system phased out altogether.

At a presser with Councilwoman Chin and his deputy mayor for operations, Laura Anglin, Mayor de Blasio repeated the fact that first responders have to be able to park at their precincts and firehouses – even the ones downtown. But the city has another plan to accommodate that issue: rent spaces in parking garages. A lot of officers, he noted, have to live outside the city because of the price of housing here.

“We ask them to protect us and to come in at any hour to do their job,” he said. “We have to come up with a parking plan…We have to be fair to our employees and fair to our neighborhoods.”


Some other points:
* The city now has 125,000 placards issued and does not plan to reduce that number in the short-term (Mayor: “We think the problem is abuse and fake placards.”)
* The new stickers cannot be transferred to other vehicles
* The stickers will also be barcoded to connect to the owner’s vehicle and his parking privileges; DOT agents will be able to tell if the car is allowed to be parked at that location and if the officer is on duty at that time
* DOT officers can ticket for parking violations and placard violations. Three violations of the latter revokes the placard for life
* DOT will blitz us and downtown BK with enforcement “like a swat team”
* The city is asking the state to raise the fines for illegal placard use from $50 currently to $250
* Once the city sets all these plans in motion, they will reassess to see if they still need to reduce the placards issued to civil employees
* Commissioners will start to survey each police precinct to see what their parking needs are
* Firehouses already get six spots per, thanks to collective bargaining; the city will survey to see if that’s enough
* This administration has raised the number of placards overall, but that is largely due to a deal with the teachers union, the mayor said
* Since 2017, there has been a 93 percent increase in the number of summons issued for illegal placard use

Councilwoman Chin noted that placard abuse is not only a traffic safety issue, but it’s killing downtown businesses whose customers can’t park easily and whose delivery area is hogged up by city employees.

“All you have to do is walk out on Bayard Street and see all the placards at metered parking,” said Chin who said the problem goes from “Bayard Street to Battery Park City.”

In short, the whole system is going digital, paper placards are going away, and the NYPD will no longer have to police its own.

“This goes back to the Koch administration,” the mayor said, “and frustration has just grown and grown and grown.”



  1. Reade Street hasn’t seen a street cleaner in years because the street is full of placard parking.

  2. Major departure? Uh-uh. While the barcode system may eventually cut down on *illegal* placard parking, there will be no reduction in the number of permitted placards — which de Blasio is confirming on Brian Lehrer, as I type.

    Without a real mayoral commitment, we can expect pretty much the same volume of entitled drivers and vehicles, which will end up oozing onto our streets and sidewalks and crosswalks, same as now.

    More on the announcement here, from Streetsblog: Streetsblog also has a long but illuminating explainer:

    • Not in any way defending the plan, just adding: they think the problem is abuse (ie, placard holders using them when not on official business) not the number of placards overall, though they would not say how many fake placards they had collected so far. They also *say* they will find space in garages for cops, depending on the need of each precinct.

      This administration has added more placards than any other, they admitted, but BdB said that was due to the contract negotiations with the teachers union and handicap placards (?). I don’t think the teachers are our problem down here, though I could be wrong on that.

      • “Fake” placards, including UFA, PBA, and court-officer union-issued placards, are the biggest problem in my opinion. These are used with impunity by mere commuters around firehouses, police stations, and the courts since no traffic enforcement officer will do anything about them.

        This latest “solution” is just window dressing, or in this case, windshield dressing.

    • There should be no placard parking for privately owned vehicles in my opinion. If you drive a City vehicle with City plates for the purpose of doing a City job, at best you should get placard parking for an hour or 2 at most in any one location, in order to cut down on the use by commuters who park their vehicle for 8 hours per day. All City-owned fleet vehicles are or should be monitored by GPS anyway.

      In the alternative, any city employees who get parking privileges by placard or in a City-owned or leased garage or lot should have the value of the parking added to their taxable income (possibly in place of money received as part of their paycheck) and city, state, and federal income tax should be withheld on that non-cash compensation. Their vehicles could be monitored by GPS as well if they choose to participate in a placard program.

      This is an issue of municipal and police corruption as bad or worse as the Parking Violations Bureau scandals of the 1980s in my opinion, and the Mayor will only pay it lip service.

  3. If.. and it’s a big IF… this comes to fruition and is actually monitored/enforced as described I’d gladly give ol’ Warren Wilhelm some credit.

    And when this gets rolled out, Erik should come back to take a victory lap for his longtime efforts.

  4. If it works as said, I see a lot of people in traffic court. Especially, when “mistakes” in ticketing are made by over zealous DOT ticket writers working on their quota. Then you’ll have to police the administrative judges. This is a super light fix.