MARCH (PARKING) MADNESS: And the Winner Loser Is…

The winners losers!
The winners losers!
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

We stopped the steal.

Our annual March (Parking) Madness contest pitting 16 NYPD precincts in a tournament to determine which is the rudest to its neighbors attracted an unprecedented level of interest, with hundreds of votes cast in the final round contest between Downtown Brooklyn’s 84th Precinct and Hunts Point’s 41st Precinct.

And the final vote showed that the 41st Precinct defeated the highly favored 84th.

Except there was one problem: Scores of votes were frauds. Somehow, many voters cast repeat ballots. And large batches of votes came in within split-seconds of each other in the middle of the night. And because the contest was widely shared, it attracted spammers, according to our behind-the-scenes web team. (The same thing happened in the finals of our bitterly fought Best Bus Stops Contest on Streetsblog USA, and we are exploring new polling software beyond the WordPress plugin!)

And the vast majority of the fraudulent votes were cast, for some reason, for the 41st Precinct, where we experienced very little egregious behavior. Because our web team has finally concluded its investigation of the fraudulent votes, we can finally report the big news: The winner loser of this year’s March (Parking) Madness contest is … the 84th Precinct!

The title of rudest precinct of 2022 could not be more fitting for Deputy Inspector Adeel Rana’s troops. During our weeks-long contest, we saw egregious behavior at the Gold Street stationhouse. First, here’s a fond horrified slideshow of some of the worst stuff we found at the 84th:

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And sometimes words tell the story better. At the 8-4, we found:

  • A combat-parking zone that is so rarely cleaned that we spotted a rat.
  • A commanding officer whose car has been slapped with 12 camera-issued speeding tickets and two red-light tickets
  • Another cop with 39 speeding tickets since January, 2021.
  • A cop with a white supremacist sticker on his car.
  • A cop parked in an NYPD-only space with North Carolina plates, which is likely some kind of insurance fraud, given that the car has been slapped with 13 speeding tickets, two red light tickets and 11 parking tickets since July — evidence that this is a New Yorker.
So coveted.
So coveted.

And that’s just the exceptionally rude behavior. On all the blocks around the stationhouse, we spotted illegal parking, placard abuse and several defaced plates, which is a crime. Residents of the area have to deal with police officers’ personal and department vehicles filling every single gap in the area: medians, no-parking zones, their own NYCHA apartment driveway, and fire hydrant zones.

The local Council member is fed up.

“The 84th precinct is now a place of citywide infamy,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler. “Between five NYPD facilities, civil, criminal, housing, family and federal courthouses, and a dozen city agencies, we are the Wild West of placard abuse. I am committed to doing everything I can to pass aggressive legislation, marshal real enforcement resources, and do some good old fashioned organizing to address this petty, but pervasive corruption in our community.”

During his campaign for office, Restler proposed getting rid of placards entirely, but there’s no guarantee that police officers wouldn’t find a new way to abuse the public trust when it comes to parking or driving recklessly.

And that’s another reminder of why we do this contest every year. This year, yes, the 84th was the worst, but over the course of this year’s and previous year’s competitions, we’ve seen disgusting precinct Dumpsters left in the middle of the street, cop cars filling neighbors’ driveways, police officers who avoid tolls by defacing their plates, police officers with dozens of camera-issued speeding tickets (yet somehow never losing their free parking in our neighborhoods), and just general chaos all over.

And that chaos is not merely aesthetic or symbolic — it creates a real danger to pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists (and an illegal impediment to people in wheelchairs).

As part of our preparation for last year’s contest, Streetsblog undertook an exhaustive review of city crash reports on the blocks near and directly in front of NYPD precinct houses. In many cases, protected or painted bike lanes vanish on the roadway directly in front of a station house, which is entirely a result of the NYPD not supporting the Department of Transportation’s efforts to keep cyclists safe.

In our study, which covered crashes from from the start of 2018 until the dawn of the pandemic in 2020, we found that 70 of the city’s 76 precincts (excluding Central Park) had a higher number of crashes on the precinct block than on either of the side streets directly on either side of the station house. Only four precincts in the entire city — the 62nd in Bensonhurst, the 90th in Greenpoint, and the Fifth and 23rd in Manhattan — had fewer crashes on the block in front of the station house.

So that tells you why this is a crucial public safety issue. But it’s also about simple respect for the neighbors.

We’ve reached out to Deputy Inspector Rana and to the NYPD public information office and will update this story if we hear back. We’re hoping to hand-deliver the winner’s trophy (above) to Rana on Monday, so hopefully he’s reading.

All our March (Parking) Madness stories are archived here.



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