PARKING MADNESS 2021: Bed-Stuy And Clinton Hill Precincts Are A Mismatch

Brooklyn is in the house (and on the sidewalks...). Photos: Dave Colon
Brooklyn is in the house (and on the sidewalks...). Photos: Dave Colon

This is the latest first-round battle in our March (Parking) Madness competition. Also today, we’re publishing a first-round matchup between two Bronx powerhouses (click here for that). In both bouts, polls close on Sunday at 2 p.m. Polls are open until 5 p.m. day in yesterday’s Lower Manhattan slugfest (here).

Most police precincts feature officers who park all over the sidewalk as if the rules don’t apply to them, but the nature of a March Madness-style bracket is that there’s always going to be a Number 1 seed pitted against a 16th seed. Don’t get us wrong, there’s still your usual and sadly expected imposition on public space at both precincts, but it’s almost like constant bad press has the COs at one station house whipping his officers into shape.

79th Precinct (Bed-Stuy)

For the purposes of this tournament, it could be argued that Deputy Inspector Timothy Skretch has an unfair advantage, in the form of a giant parking lot for his station house.

79th Precinct Parking lot

After all, it’s easy not to park on the sidewalk or in bus stops if you can just pull into actual designated off-street parking. Then again, is a parking lot for police the best use of scarce public land? Well, no. And in this case, while it does seem to keep a few cars off the sidewalk, old habits die hard.

A police SUV parked on the corner of Greene Avenue and Tompkins Avenue, despite the nearby police parking lot. Photo: Dave Colon
A police SUV parked on the corner of Greene Avenue and Tompkins Avenue, despite the nearby police parking lot. Photo: Dave Colon

One has to wonder what’s being stored in the garages behind this cars that take up most of the sidewalk space on beautiful Greene Avenue. And don’t excuse this by saying that the street in front of the the garage would then have to always remain clear for it to be useful, no one is going to risk getting towed for blocking a police garage.

You can't use the garage?
You can’t use the garage?

But really, aside from giving the precinct building a small fortress feel by keeping a few metal barriers near the entrance, the 79th just isn’t putting in the effort to gobble up public space.

79th Precinct barricades

Around the corner on Lexington Avenue there’s also a slight incursion onto the sidewalk, but that melts away before you get halfway down the block. Maybe Dep. Insp. Skretch should be going out to give inspirational halftime speeches to every other precinct in the borough.

79th preinct Lexington Avenue

Nah just kidding, he should get himself a perfect record first, one that doesn’t involve his officers parking a huge SUV directly on the sidewalk, as we found over the summer:

Still, it doesn’t look like the 79, as bad as it is, is going to win this round, given …

88th Precinct (Clinton Hill)

Ah, the 88th, our old friend. Like a college program that goes from overseeing rampant criminality to merely accepting some academic fraud, the 88th has a small improvement to brag about in the sense that Capt. Ryon Malcolm’s officers are no longer parking in Classon Playground. Great job, everyone! On the other hand, they are still parking on the sidewalk in front of the Classon Avenue station house, complete with the notorious painted-on parking spots for commanding officers.

Your sidewalk parking spot, Sergeant. Photo: Dave Colon
Your sidewalk parking spot, Sergeant. Photo: Dave Colon

You might remember that when Streetsblog asked Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams about this practice, he said that “the community” might put up with it because they want officers to be able to drive off quickly to race to emergencies. Surely that’s what’s happening with these…official…police…Mercedes SUVs?

88th Precinct sidewalk Mercedes

Further north on Classon, there seems to be some confusion over how much space police are supposed to give their personal vehicles on the sidewalk. Are the police supposed to roll up onto the sidewalk itself, like these officers who gave the pinch to pedestrians?

88th precinct sidewalk pedestrians

Or are they supposed to merely roll into the dirt patch that could could probably be made into a nice line of trees if people didn’t park all over it? Much to think about.

88th precinct dirt patch parking

Around the corner from the station house on Dekalb Avenue is where the 88th really earns its stripes, though. Pulling up to block the sidewalk in front of the entrance to a school? Check.

88th Precinct school parking

Leaving destroyed cars parked on the sidewalk? Check.

88th Precinct destroyed car

A Dumpster in the bike lane for some reason? Forcing a cyclist out of the lane and into traffic? You know it.

88th precinct dumpster bike lane

And, of course, just a collection of other personal cars backed on to the sidewalk with just enough shame to leave pedestrians with room to walk by.

88th precinct dekalb sidewalk

When you stack the 79th up against the 88th, it seems like the 8-8 takes it in a rout, but we leave it up to you, the voters. Polls are open until Sunday at 2 p.m.!

[poll id=”130″]