At least a dozen drivers, including two NYPD employees, recently discovered a new parking lot in Chelsea.
According to a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, the parking lot happens to exist inside a westbound bike lane on 29th Street near 6th Avenue, and it also allows for double-parking.
— crazy, sexy, cool (@CatlinMichael) July 31, 2018
The bike lane was installed following the deaths of cyclists Dan Hanegby and Michael Mamoukakis, who were both killed by drivers within a single week last summer. Hanegby, a father of two young children, was riding a Citi Bike on 26th Street, while Mamoukakis was turning onto 29th Street; both men were killed by bus drivers.
At the time, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who represents the district where the crashes occurred, said he was "angered and heartbroken," and called for an emergency meeting of Community Board 4 (the NYPD did not attend the meeting). Early this year, the Department of Transportation announced that it would install protected bike lanes on 26th Street and 29th Street, and they were mostly finished when Streetsblog tested them late last month.
Catlin Wojtkowski, who took the video, said he rides to work every day, and frequently takes 29th Street. While the bike lane there is new and lacks green paint, he said that this was the only block where cars were obstructing it with impunity.
"You're never going to get the people in this city to adhere to traffic policies if the people who are charged with enforcing them just ignore them," Wojtkowski said of the NYPD.
"It's incredibly insulting to the lives and legacies of those people who were killed on their bikes."
Wojtkowski added that he is an "equal opportunity complainer" when it comes to bad behavior in traffic.
"I yell at cyclists who run red lights because, you may think you're doing nothing, but you're the reason why it's so easy for the NYPD to lie and say this person ran a red light and not have to prove it," he said.
The NYPD did not respond to our requests for comment, nor did Speaker Johnson's office, but we'll update if they do.
The DOT says that the green paint will be added in the next few weeks, and that they will post notices in the area to alert drivers about the new bike lane.
David Lewis, the driver who killed Hanegby, was charged under New York's Right of Way Law, a misdemeanor, and failure to exercise due care, a traffic violation. He was arrested in October of 2017, and has so far refused to take a plea deal offered to him by the Manhattan DA's office—a $1,000 fine, driver remediation classes, and a six month license suspension. His next court date is September 12th.