It looks like we opened a floodgate with our coverage of the illegally parked van on Avenue W last week, as a torrent of messages about similar situations have poured into our inbox.
A post for every one of them would be excessive, so instead we’re creating this thread to become a running log of them. We’ll send a note to the 61st Precinct and Community Board 15 letting them know this info is here and that neighbors are looking for their help.
So, if you know of a car that has been abusing side street parking on blocks without alternate side parking, have seen a derelict or abandoned vehicle around for too long, or live on a street where cars are frequently parked without plates or tags (we’ve heard some dealers do this illegally), leave a detailed note in the comment section. Be as specific as possible with the location and description of the vehicle, amount of time you’ve seen it and – if you have one – provide a link to a photo.
Just a word to the wise: we ain’t the city. In fact, we have no power at all in this, except in helping to publicize the situation.
Here’s the best way to get something taken care of, and regardless of whether you post here, it should definitely be on your to-do list:
- Call 311, provide as much information as they’ll take about the complaint. ASK FOR A REFERENCE NUMBER AND SAVE IT.
- Since 311 will not work (we assure you, it won’t. But it’s still the first step), call Community Board 15 at (718) 332-3008 and describe the complaint to them, and give them the reference number you received from 311. Do the same with your City Councilmember (Lew Fidler – 718-241-9330; Mike Nelson – 718-368-9176).
- Bonus points: Call the 61st Precinct at (718) 627-6611, and make another complaint for the hell of it. Just know that these complaints are not a priority to them – and, when you have shootings, stabbings, robberies, et cetera – that’s probably a good thing.
- Wait two weeks. If nothing happens, e-mail us.
Is that a lot to do to get an illegally parked car removed? Hell yes. And it’s pretty much the same steps to get any quality-of-life concern addressed in the city, like having a litter basket picked up or tree branches removed.
Our opinion? When you add a very impersonal system like 311 to the mix, you’ve just wrapped every city agency in a protective layer of bubble wrap, where resident complaints come through muffled and distant. The computer storing your complaint isn’t going to vouch for you, it ain’t got your back, and it won’t be following up with agencies to make sure you’re being attended to. Agencies have learned that the majority of 311 complaints can be ignored without repercussions.
But ignoring a Community Board chairperson? Or a City Councilmember? That’s just not going to happen, that’s why the van was removed last week, and that’s why the above process, though exhausting, works.
So tell us about the illegally parked vehicle situation on your block, and we’ll see if we can find our readers a shortcut through the system by directing a bulk complaint to the Board and the Precinct.