Nothing quite symbolizes the tensions between drivers and cyclists in this city like a car illegally parked in a bike lane. It’s the ultimate act of dismissive disregard by a driver, who sees it as free parking to use while they pop into the store to grab a bottled water in a plastic bag, instead of the active and crucial throughway bikers rely on to get around. Cops do it too all the time, forcing you to actually break the law in front of police officers as you exit the bike lane to get by. Can you imagine a reverse world where cyclists just locked their bikes up in the middle of a lane of car traffic on a busy street while they were waiting to meet a friend?
Anyway, the problem has gotten so bad, someone created a citywide registry to shame people who park in the bike lane. Now, those complaints have somewhere official to go: the city’s new 311 app update lets you snitch out cars parked in the bike lanes right from your phone (just don’t do it while actually biking).
The new update, which went live yesterday, has a section where you can report blocked bike lanes under the “illegal parking.” You enter the address of the offending vehicle, whether it’s a recurring problem and any other details (like license plate, I would assume).
— Mike Cherepko (@mikecherepko) November 1, 2016
You can leave your contact info too, though it’s unclear how 311 will follow up on these complaints, though some bike advocates remain skeptical:
Considering @NYCMayor has endorsed parking in bike lanes, we have a long way to go before we make a dent in this hazard.
— Brooklyn Spoke (@BrooklynSpoke) November 1, 2016
The 311 app has lots of other good stuff in it and it’s worth adding to your utility belt of apps. You can report a taxi driver who doesn’t pick you up, look for an item lost in a cab, file complaints about noise, heat and rats, report damaged trees and graffiti and more.
It still makes for good observational humor:
do you ever wonder why we DRIVE on a PARKWAY but we PARK in the BIKE LANE
— Vijith Assar (@vijithassar) October 31, 2016
Follow Tim, who has banged on his share of car hoods in a bike lane: @timdonnelly.