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Call ’em cop blockers.
Every week, platoons of off-duty cops descend on Bath Avenue, illegally parking their civilian cars blocking bus stops and fire hydrants and destroying local business — all while the city does nothing — say neighbors.
Store owners between 18th Avenue and Bay 20th in Bensonhurst complain that cops in street clothes have arrived every Wednesday morning at 9 am for the past two months. The officers park their personal cars — each with an NYPD Restricted Parking placard in the window — all along the block without regard for parking laws. Then they pile into a nearby building en masse and don’t leave until 2 pm.
“If we ever parked at a bus stop or a hydrant, we’d get ticketed in a second,” said Tom Prince, owner of Christy Industries at the corner of Bay 19th Street. “How is it that they’re allowed to park wherever they want?”
Prince argued that the cops’ habits are endangering the welfare of the entire community.
“People with carriages and old people have to walk through the cars to get the bus, you should see it,” Prince said. “And what if there was a fire and the truck couldn’t get to the hydrant?”
Other store owners said the cops are monopolizing all available spaces is hurting their profits.
“Since morning ‘til 2 pm, no one can park. I come to work and I can’t park my car. My customers can’t park,” said Alex Geb, owner of Bath Avenue Hardware at the corner of 18th Avenue.
Geb isn’t the only one hurting.
“Customers are spinning around for 40, 50 minutes, then they say they go back home because there’s no parking,” said Arthur Leviy of Style By Johnny Barbershop next door.
The store owners said that repeated calls to 311 yielded no results.
On Aug. 7, when dozens of vehicles with NYPD Restricted Parking placards lined ‘No Parking’ areas, Prince again dialed 311, but no traffic enforcement agent responded.
A police department spokesman confirmed that Restricted Parking plates do not allow vehicles to block bus stops or fireplugs.
“No, they shouldn’t be doing that,” the spokesman said.
One of the officers on the scene said that the cops were all attending a course for the sergeant examination — and defended the parking practices as harmless.
“It’s one day a week, just a couple hours, it’s not bad,” said the officer, who declined to give his name.Reach reporter Will Bredderman at email@example.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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