Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Scofflaw drivers are illegally parking in a Bay Ridge bus stop after a rogue motorist mowed down a B4 bus sign in mid-June. Now, with no sign to ward them off, parking-starved drivers are taking advantage of the freed-up spots — and forcing straphangers to step off into the street.
The space may be a boon for drivers, but a bummer for bus riders, said one sympathetic local.
“A spot is a spot. People go nuts for parking here. If I really needed it, I’d probably go for it too,” said Bay Ridgite Stephen Mifsud, who has spent countless hours hunting for parking in the nabe. “Parking is such a nightmare, I don’t blame them, but that’s kind of obnoxious for people getting off the bus. It’d be tricky if someone in a wheelchair wanted to get on.”
What was once the bus sign for the B4 stop at 78th Street and Fifth Avenue is now a mangled mess after a driver smashed into the pole and launched it into a nearby wrought iron fence and shrubs. And the crushed metal has been rusting there since mid-June, said one block resident.
“I was laying in bed when I heard a loud crash one night,” said Jacqueline Ricci, who reported the downed sign to passing bus drivers. “People have been parking here ever since. They either don’t know or don’t care that it’s actually a bus stop. Why would they? There’s never enough parking.”
The post’s pulverized remains, along with the ripped off bumper of the car that struck it, still remain in a crushed junk heap on the sidewalk. All that’s left of the stop is a foot-deep crater marked by a neon-yellow cone.
The Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not answer questions about when the wreckage would be cleared and when a new sign will be erected.
At the moment, B4 passengers must still unload in the street up against a line of parked cars. It just goes to show how dire the lack of parking in the area is — some drivers are even taking advantage of the city’s lazy line painters to park in the intersection up the block and across the nabe — said one regular rider.
“Getting off in the street is not the worst thing ever, but it just shows how bad the parking situation is around here,” said Dominic Martelli, who often rides the B4. “People gotta park.”
It’s unclear if desperate drivers run the risk of earning a ticket for parking in the bus stop when there are no sign to warn them away. But the Department of Transportation’s website on parking regulations states: “If a sign is missing on a block, the remaining posted regulations are the ones that are in effect.”