Feds take aim at NYPD illegal parking; warn of lawsuit over sidewalk violations

A letter to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York sent to the NYPD basically says you better voluntarily fix this situation or the federal government might sue you.

Last May, Fox 5 interviewed Christopher Volpe, a Harlem resident, who had called the city's 3-1-1 system hundreds of times to complain about police officers parking their work and personal vehicles halfway on the sidewalk, fully on the sidewalk or blocking bike lanes.

At that time, he says nothing was ever done about it.

"They don't care and also because there's nobody following up on them."

Well now the U.S. Department of Justice has taken notice sending this letter to the NYPD pointing out the NYPD is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.


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"The City of New York (and, more specifically, the NYPD) has failed to ensure that the pedestrian grid is "readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities because City Vehicles frequently park on sidewalks and in crosswalks."

Attorney Christy Asbee is with Disability Rights New York, he says, "it's a pervasive issue."   

Disability Rights New York is an advocacy organization.  

The organization requires a sign language interpreter when doing interviews. 

Asbee says it may not seem like a big deal for cars to partially block a sidewalk or crosswalk, but it is life-changing for people with disabilities.

"People in wheelchairs. People who use walkers. People who use other devices such as arm crutches. They need space."

"They cannot navigate between cars parked over curbs, over the sidewalks."

When contacted by Fox 5 about the letter from the Justice Department, the NYPD simply said "We are reviewing the letter."

City Hall had a much stronger response, calling the matter serious and that it would be addressed.