Eyes on the Street: Sidewalks for Pedestrians at the 78th Precinct

Photo: Wayne Bailey
This sidewalk used to be a parking lot for police. Photo: Wayne Bailey

Props to the 78th Precinct and commanding officer Michael Ameri for this one. Reader Wayne Bailey sends photos showing that the 78th is starting to get the sidewalk parking situation under control near the precinct house. Previously this block of Sixth Avenue was occupied by officers’ personal vehicles:

Image: Google Maps
The old situation. Image: Google Maps

It might seem like a small thing, but this is a big deal for walking conditions near the 78th, which is right next to a subway station and retail blocks on Sixth Avenue, Bergen Street, and Flatbush Avenue.

Here’s what the sidewalk right in front of the precinct used to look like, with “combat parking” — vehicles perpendicular to the street, backed over the curb:

The block of Sixth Avenue in front of the 78th Precinct. Image: Google Maps

And here is the same block now. Only one vehicle is marring the sidewalk:

Photo: Wayne Bailey

78th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Brian Laffey said the precinct shifted some of its parking a block to the north. “The community wanted it, people with strollers. It’s much cleaner now,” he said. “We’re just trying to be good neighbors here.” Combat parking does remain in place on Bergen Street, where Laffey said the sidewalk is less pinched.

Bailey says the parking fix is emblematic of the 78th’s responsiveness to streets-related issues under Ameri. It’s the same precinct that started holding monthly meetings about traffic safety, and the same precinct that won over residents by keeping the Bergen Street bike lane clear.

You can always tell when you’re close to a police building in NYC, because that’s where you’ll see a lot of cars taking up sidewalk space and squeezing pedestrians. Even if the 78th hasn’t completely cleared the sidewalks near the precinct, it’s made a lot of progress and shown that it’s possible to rethink how NYPD manages vehicle storage.