The city has barely made any headway on changes intended to combat rampant parking placard abuse that Mayor Bill de Blasio promised nearly two years ago, officials have admitted.
Digital stickers — pitched in February 2019 as a cure to prevent holders from switching placards from vehicle to vehicle — have reached only a tiny fraction of the city’s tens of thousands of placard holders.
The Department of Transportation has issued decals to just 1,700 drivers, officials said — out of an estimated 125,000-plus placards in circulation.
Meanwhile, Hizzoner’s plan to switch the entire city over by the start of 2021 to a digital “pay-by-plate” parking system — designed to automatically register cars as legally or illegally parked — has also stalled, officials said
“We’re going to phase out placards as we know them entirely by 2021,” de Blasio had said at the time.
But pay-by-plate is now expected “get underway’ sometime this year, according to a city official, who blamed the delays on “the unprecedented, unexpected, and dual public health and budget crises we’re facing.”
“The pay-by-plate system requires a total overhaul of the city’s 14,500 parking meters,” a the official said.
“That’s a massive undertaking at any time, and certainly even more so given the unprecedented challenges we’re continuing to face. We’re on track to get this project underway this coming year.”
Parking placards ostensibly exist to give municipal employees better access to curbside real estate when they’re on the job. In reality, they are widely abused. City blocks are littered with government workers turning sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, bus lanes, and no-standing zones into permanent parking for their cars.
An annual survey of placard misuse, meanwhile — which Hizzoner had said would be conducted by his office’s Street Conditions Observation Unit — simply did not happen in 2020, the city admitted.
The city official said COVID-19 on-street dining enforcement took up the unit’s time in 2020.
And only a handful of placards have been revoked under a “three strikes” policy against lawbreakers, while a dedicated enforcement unit also launched in 2019 was axed over the summer amid pandemic-induced budget woes.