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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Speeding Past Schools During Alternate Side Parking

On a day off from work this week, I noticed something troubling about the New York Police Department's approach to enforcing Alternate Side Parking. Drivers were speeding past the local grade school, and it looked like the NYPD's methods were inadvertently contributing to the problem.

The New York Police Department generally allows double parking on the opposite side of the street during Alternate Side Parking for street cleaning. Nobody seems to really know or understand how this rule is supported in law, but it is generally observed and respected. There is a situation, however, where the NYPD does not allow this practice. You cannot double park on a block that has a school.

Supposedly there is some safety concern that motivates the NYPD to reign in the permissiveness around schools. If there is any effect, however, it quite likely makes the situation more dangerous. What I saw this week was cars absolutely flying down the block past the local grade school.

A typical NYC block, where double parking
is allowed during Alternate Side Parking
The next block over with a school, where double
parking isn't allowed. It encourages speeding

After a look around, the reason seemed obvious. Consider the blocks that allow double parking. The parking maintains a narrower effective width on the street, which helps discourage speeding. The blocks with schools, however, create wide open roads where drivers feel comfortable stepping on the gas.

Since the NYPD is clearly comfortable allowing the widespread practice of double parking during Alternate Side Parking, they should reevaluate their strict enforcement on blocks with schools. These may be the locations where double parking may actually be most appropriate.

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