Volume 21, Number 35 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 9 - 15, 2009

Transit Sam: The Answer Man

By Sam Schwartz

Dear Sam,
 The past few months, there’s been more police activity on the streets near/leading to the Holland Tunnel. There’s usually a communication truck and about ten to 15 patrol cars. They block one lane of traffic (once the bus lane was blocked) thus creating problems. They seem to be waiting for orders or something, as they take off in small groups at a time. Once 4 p.m. rolls around, the problems begin and traffic in Downtown gets tied up for hours. Can you shed any light on this? Maybe they can schedule it for another time besides rush hour.
 Tribeca Trudy

Dear T.T.,
 The N.Y.P.D. does these exercises as a show of strength and to see how quickly they can mobilize to various points in the city.  I’m not sure of the value of this but doing this by the number one congestion spot in Manhattan — the Holland Tunnel — is ludicrous.  I will convey your complaint to N.Y.P.D.; Lower Manhattan has suffered enough!
 Transit Sam

Dear Sam,
 How are you supposed to place a meter receipt on your dashboard — facing toward the driver or the front of the car?  I got a ticket for placing it toward the driver.  On the ticket, it says “backwards.”  Should I fight the ticket?
 Fran via e-mail
Dear Fran,
 This is a cockamamie summons and you can quote me!  Nowhere in the traffic rules does it specify that the receipt must be displayed “facing towards the front of the car or driver.” As long as the time is clearly visible (agents view the receipt from different angles), then you’re parked legally. Contest the ticket citing this column and City Traffic Rule Section 4-08 (h) (10) (ii) which states, “…Displayed in the windshield,” and include a copy of the muni-meter receipt. If the summons isn’t dismissed, write back and I’ll take it from there.

Dear Sam,
 I drive a truck for Whole Foods.  I often make deliveries on Bleecker St. where there are bike lanes.  Am I supposed to double park when I can’t find a spot on the bike lane or in the moving lane of traffic?
 Greg. H.

 Dear Greg,
 On most of Bleecker St. the bike lane is adjacent to the curb.  If you must double park (yes, trucks may double park if they can’t find a space within 100 feet and parking at the curb is allowed) do it on the non-bike lane side of the street.  Where parking is allowed on both sides, say between La Guardia and Mercer, you should park outside the bike lane if you must double park.  On the narrower parts of Bleecker, you’re screwed.  You can’t park on the bike lane and if you park outside it you’d block traffic which is also against the law.  In that case, you should look for a spot around the corner.
Sam Schwartz, a former first deputy commissioner of city transportation, is president and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering, a traffic engineering consulting firm to private and public entities including the Port Authority at the World Trade Center site. Email your questions to TransitSam@DowntownExpress.com




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