Police say motorcycle owners have been taking over sidewalks and parking spaces in the massive east side complex, leaving bikes in violation of posted signs and stripping license plates from their bikes to prevent cops from issuing tickets.
“A lot of motorcycles park on the sidewalk, and they take the license plates off because the New York City police department is not allowed to write summonses anymore through VIN numbers,” Deputy Inspector Ted Berntsen, Commanding Officer of the 13th precinct, said at a recent meeting with area residents.
Berntsen said cops have been left with little choice but to tow the illegally parked motorcycles en masse from the two complexes, which stretch from East 14th to 23rd streets and from First Avenue to the East River.
“This is an issue in the neighborhood,” Berntsen said. “They do cause traffic on the sidewalk.”
On a recent Monday, DNAinfo.com New York spotted several motorcycles without license plates parked around the massive complex, squeezed in between cars parked along the neighborhood’s myriad roadways.
Neal, a 29-year resident of Stuyvesant Town who declined to give his last name, said he witnessed one mass motorcycle towing earlier this month.
“That one time two weeks ago was quite a shock,” he said.
Neal said he doesn’t drive a motorcycle, but said riders should be limited to the same parking hours as car motorists who park their vehicles in Stuyvesant Town.
He said he’s witnessed plenty of bikes that ignore stated parking rules.
“The motorcycle people generally don’t move,” he said.
Another resident posted June 11 on the blog Stuyvesant Town Report about the towing epidemic, hailing it as a step in the right direction.
“If you had a motorcycle parked on 1st. Avenue loop, it’s either gone or ticketed or both,” the person wrote.
“The tow trucks were out. This has been a long time coming,” the person added. “Obey the parking regulations or else.”
But some in the complex worried that motorcycles were being unfairly targeted.
Steve Werner, 73, who has lived in Stuyvesant Town for more than 15 years, said his friend recently purchased a brand new, $8,000 motorcycle — and was promptly ticketed.
Werner said he wasn’t sure the amount of the ticket or the offense, but said his friend plans to fight it.
“People live here,” Werner said. “I mean, why make it inconvenient for them to park?”
Berntsen said the 13th precinct was planning another towing expedition for this past Friday but wasn’t able to complete it because the tow trucks were unavailable.
But he said locals could expect future towing operations in the neighborhood and encouraged residents to call the precinct at 212-477-7427 to report any areas of particular concern.
“If [the situation] continues to improve and it becomes successful, we’ll do it in other parts of the precinct,” Berntsen said.