Talk about dropping a line.
City workers painting crosswalk stripes stopped short in front of illegally parked cars, leaving the markings unfinished across Bay Ridge, and now parking-starved drivers are seizing the empty patches as if they were legitimate spots.
The parking free-for-all will likely land drivers in hot water with the law, and could have easily been avoided if the city had just come back and finished the job weeks ago, groused one local.
“Why does painting a few lines on the ground take weeks? Everything is this whole song and dance now,” said Bay Ridgite Anthony Vallaro, whose station wagon eats up nearly two parking spots. “It’s one of those dumb city things because now people just desperate to park their cars are going to park in those spaces and probably get a ticket. Lord knows they’ll take any excuse to give one.”
The Department of Transportation annually refurbishes faded crosswalks and other street markings each spring. Wear and tear, erosion from salt during snowfall, and street repaving create a frequent need to repaint the lines and symbols, according to Community Board 10’s district manager Josephine Beckmann.
But scofflaw drivers who park in crosswalks force city workers to work around their cars, leaving gaps in the white stripes. And instead of waiting around for the vehicles to move, painters have left the job half finished at a handful of intersections, predominantly along Fourth Avenue.
It’s not the first time the nabe has dealt with the unfinished business and left locals wondering if bumping their boots out onto the empty asphalt will land them in traffic court.
“I do know there have been issues in the past,” said Beckmann. “The question I have is, legally, where is it summonsable? Where is it illegal — is that distinguished by an end of a corner or the painted line?”
But there is no refuge from eagle-eyed traffic agents, because it is illegal to park at the intersections, whether they have painted lines or not, according to the Department of Transportation’s website. And some locals feel the need to warn their four-wheel-roving neighbors to resist the temptation to snag an easy spot.
“Nothing good can come from parking at an intersection,” said Bay Ridgite Gary Rehbein, who once thought about seizing the empty space with his car but curbed his enthusiasm. “Is it really worth the aggravation of a ticket?”
Repairs for the bare squares are scheduled in the next few weeks, according to a Department of Transportation spokeswoman.