NYC Mayor de Blasio warns of towing crackdown of cars parked in bus lanes

NYC Mayor de Blasio warns of towing crackdown of cars parked in bus lanes
Cars parked in bus lanes make things difficult for bus drivers and passengers, (Todd Maisel/New York Daily News)

If you park in the bus lane, you’ll wind up in the tow pound, Mayor de Blasio warned Thursday.

“Don’t do it. Don’t do it, because these good public servants are coming to get you out of that bus lane if you’re blocking millions of New Yorkers from being able to get where they need to go,” de Blasio said at the NYPD tow lot on Manhattan’s West Side.

Hizzoner laid out the details of his plan to beef up traffic enforcement in bus lanes in an effort to speed up buses that crawl through the city, with speeds averaging just 7.4 miles per hour — less than 4 miles per hour in commercial districts.

The NYPD will roll out seven tow teams across the five boroughs dedicated to clearing out bus lanes, and the NYPD will make policing the violation a priority, officials said.

The penalty will also hit drivers in the pocketbook — parking in a bus lane or bus stop comes with a $115 fine, and if a car is towed, it will cost $185 to pick it up.

But plenty of the cars that block bus stops or bus lanes belong to very agency tasked with the towing — the police, as documented by the Twitter account @placardabuse.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said the department would do its part to get out of the lanes, too.

“A memo went out to all the precinct commanders making sure that they don’t block the bus lanes unless it is an emergency,” O’Neill said. “Sometimes that’s the only place you can be. We need to do our best to clear our bus lanes and if we are part of the problem, we have to make sure it stops.”

De Blasio said he would have a long-awaited update on placard abuse and efforts to reform it next month — nearly a year after he first told New Yorkers he’d provide an update and after months of saying it’d come “soon.”

The city will also add more bus lanes, give buses traffic signal priority at 300 intersections a year, and advocate for more camera enforcement to speed up buses by 25% in two years, the mayor said.

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