Un-park it! Ridge pol’s bill would close car dealerships that clog sidewalks

Move it: Councilman Justin Brannan is co-sponsoring a bill to crack down on car dealers — such as those in Bay Ridge — who ignore laws prohibiting them from parking their cars on the sidewalk.
Brooklyn Daily
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Car dealers in Bay Ridge and beyond who illegally park vehicles on the sidewalk should be shuttered by the city if they are caught repeatedly breaking the law, a local pol asserts.

Councilman Justin Brannan said he and his constituents are tired of cars crowding sidewalks around dealerships clustered on Fourth Avenue between 88th and 95th streets, so he is penning a law that he thinks will stop the businesses in their tracks.

“People complain and rightfully so: it’s not right, it’s hard to navigate for seniors, for people pushing baby strollers, and not only that, you’re not supposed to park on the sidewalk,” he said. “If I parked on the sidewalk I would get a ticket.”

The bill — which Brannan co-sponsored in Council on March 7 with Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (D–Queens) Rafael Espinal (D–Bushwick) — gives the Commissioner of the Consumer Affairs Agency the power to suspend or revoke the license of any car dealership which receives two or more violations in a year for illegally parking or leaving cars on sidewalks or in crosswalks. Van Bramer had previously introduced the bill in 2016, but it never made it to the floor for a vote.

The city traffic rules already note that parking or stopping cars in crosswalks and sidewalks is illegal, and carries a $115 fine, which traffic enforcement agents issue, according to a Department of Transportation rep.

But Brannan said that the officers often don’t write tickets for illegally parked dealership cars that lack registrations or license plates, letting the businesses off the hook.

The Police Department did not respond to a request for comment, but the transportation agency rep said the city expected car dealers to pay up if they break the already-existing law.

“The rules apply to everyone,” said Alana Morales.

But Brannan said that the rules needed to be better enforced, because dealers were also taking away parking, which is already at a premium in the neighborhood.

Still, one local dealership owner said the bill wouldn’t affect his business because it has its own parking spots for inventory and its managers know not to park cars on the sidewalk, but he added that he was concerned the bill could potentially put hundreds of people out of business for small infractions.

“I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you that there haven’t been cars that have been on the sidewalk momentarily,” said Rob Sabbagh, who owns Bay Ridge Honda. “I’m sure this would be a deterrent, but we employ about 225 people, so I’d be curious to know his stance on shutting down businesses that employ that amount of people.”

Brannan said the bill wasn’t anti-business, but instead was meant to encourage business owners to be better.

“I understand everybody’s got to do business, but I’m a big believer in businesses being good neighbors,” he said. “This isn’t Manalapan, New Jersey.”

The bill is currently in the Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, which Espinal chairs, and would need a public hearing and a floor vote before the mayor could sign it into law. A rep for Espinal said he hoped the bill would receive a public hearing by the end of the summer.

Other dealers on the strip visited by Courier reporters did not comment.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 1:08 pm, May 7, 2018
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Reader feedback

Me from Brooklyn says:
Well for one thing, it seems he had plenty of room on said sidewalk to stand and pose with his arms outstretched for his photo op.
Also, maybe if he worked to change the truly ridiculous alternate side parking rules all around Brooklyn there would be adequate Street
parking for ALL vehicles.
He is also speaking of putting businesses with many employees out for not a really good reason. Smells of politics all around to me
May 7, 9:42 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Brannan represents the anti car fanatic minority in Bay Ridge. He will learn the hard way that there is no way to win re-election by attacking local businesses to placate those who hate freedom. Enjoy the little time you have left in office, Justin.
May 7, 11:01 am
Judy says:
It is good to see Brannan taking on this issue. Car dealerships can be very obnoxious and seem to think they own the sidewalks. I am not some "anti car" fanatic but I just want to be able to push my double wide stroller without having to walk in the middle of the street to avoid 7 brand new BMWs
May 7, 12:21 pm
Hank from Bay Ridge says:
Believing that car dealerships shouldn't park on the sidewalk means one is an anti-car fanatic freedom hater?? You're losin' it, man!
May 7, 1 pm
Jeff from Bay Ridge says:
It's about time. Sidewalks are for people not cars! The bill should also include repair shops who do the same thing and who park cars in bus stops. A good example is Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat of Bay Ridge parks their cars in the bus stop across the dealership, which means buses cannot use the bus stop for the disabled that use wheelchairs and such.
May 7, 1:54 pm
Katie says:
Thank you Senator Brannan for your leadership on this issue!
May 7, 2:02 pm
NN from Boerum Hill says:
I think this is a great idea.
May 7, 2:29 pm
jdh says:
This has been an ongoing problem for years! Thank you for taking up the cause, Councilman Brannan.
May 7, 5:05 pm
Gary says:
Yes enough's enough. I am tired of these car dealerships who are thinking they can park their lot on the sidewalks and block our path. Senator Brennan is taking a bold stance that others never had the courage to take before.
May 7, 6:13 pm
Mary Ann Losala from Bay Ridge says:
This guy goes about things all wrong - like a bully.
I work at a dealership that got a letter from him about this and he signed it - “The Management” - who does he think he is?
May 8, 5:16 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay. says:
But he sees no problem with cars owned by police officers and the city blocking sidewalks in front of every police precinct in Brooklyn. Why do the laws not apply to them?
May 8, 8:41 am
Bay Ridge Resident from Bay Ridge says:
"Councilman Justin Brannan said he and his constituents are tired of cars crowding sidewalks around dealerships clustered on Fourth Avenue between 88th and 95th streets, so he is penning a law that he thinks will stop the businesses in their tracks."
There are many other car dealerships, car repair shops, even 7/11 in Bay Ridge (Have you checked 5th Avenue?!?!) that have cars parked on the sidewalks, bus stops, hydrants, etc. How about the car service cars?
How about the double and triple parked cars at 4th Avenue and 100th street? The valet companies think that is ok. ("Encore Nightclub" I'm talking about you!)
I don't think it's fair to be so narrow on this to the stores on 4th Avenue in a 7 block area.
Sounds like ticket enforcement can solve this, not threatening to "close businesses."
May 8, 10:50 am
JC from Bay Ridge says:
Yes, some of the dealerships do have cars parked on the sidewalk but I've never felt endangered. Personally I wish parking enforcement would do something about the nights when Encore Nightclub has cars double and triple parked on both sides of 4th Avenue!!!
May 8, 11:06 am
Lyon says:
To: Mary Ann Losala

That never happened but your imagination should be applauded.


The Mgmt.
May 8, 11:45 am
Alan from Crown Heights says:
Expecting businesses to follow the law? What a crazy idea!
May 8, 12:09 pm
Trying to be efficient walker from SunsetRidge says:
The sidewalk pictured has plenty of space left for pedestrians. Try walking up 65th street between 5th and 6th Avenue (or what's left of it, the south side.) Dealership cars are perpendicular parked for most of the block.
May 8, 7:18 pm
Trying to be efficient walker from SunsetRidge says:
*on the sidewalk
May 9, 6:43 am
Chris from Sunset says:
When did not driving cars down sidewalks become a radical idea?
May 9, 8:26 am
Rob from NY says:
It is about time. Cars should not be on sidewalks -- period. If traffic tickets haven't worked, this is the obvious next step.
May 9, 12:03 pm
Guest from NYC says:
This is a citywide problem. Not just car stealerships, but hotels, precincts and of course garages.

Kick them off the curb!
May 9, 4:51 pm
Matthew says:
Perhaps the City should make the dealers pay the same price per square foot as a Sidewalk Cafe to rent sidewalk space?
May 9, 9:19 pm
Adrian from Ridgewood says:
What is a major problem is when cars are parked on narrow sidewalks whether their from a car dealership, USPS office, police precinct, or auto repair shop. If the people in charge had common sense they could ticket and tow cars on narrow sidewalks. If sidewalks have a lot of space, it's not dangerous to have cars parked on them. Without common sense, to get people to follow the rules you must threaten to close businesses. How sad
May 10, 8:31 am
resident from bk says:
As the article correctly points out, this is already against the law, for obvious reasons. It's disappointing that NYPD declined to comment on why they are not enforcing the law.
May 10, 10:18 am
Michael Lanza from Bay Ridge says:
Restaurants pay fees to use the sidewalk. There should be no free lunch for car dealerships. You don't get public real estate for free because you choose this line of business.
May 21, 9:12 am
Michael Lanza from Bay Ridge says:
JC from Bay Ridge:

You say you never feel endangered. Can I park anywhere on the sidewalk if I make sure no one feels endangered?

May 21, 9:15 am

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