NYPD Writing Fewer Traffic Tickets on UWS; Community Board Calls for Increased Focus on Street Safety

By Joy Bergmann

The NYPD’s 20th and 24th Precincts on the Upper West Side have been issuing fewer moving violation summonses to drivers [including e-bikers] even as traffic increases during the city’s post-Covid-19 comeback. 

Community Board 7 members recently called for improved traffic enforcement in the wake of Hing Chung’s death after he was struck by an e-bike in April, and the hit-and-run that severely injured Lisa Banes earlier this month. 

The NYPD tracks 46 types of moving violations summonses for everything from improper passing to obstructed plates. WSR pulled the most recent UWS totals for driver behavior that crucially endangers pedestrians and found a significant reduction in ticketing since March of this year:

An NYPD spokeswoman told WSR that fewer tickets should have been expected during the Covid period of reduced vehicle traffic. [Indeed, in May of 2020 the 20th Precinct wrote a total of 157 tickets compared to 876 in May 2019. The 24th wrote 119 tickets in May 2020 vs. 903 in May 2019.] But she did not have an explanation for the downward trend in 2021 UWS enforcement since lockdowns lessened. 

WSR asked the precincts’ commanding officers for comment. Neither Capt. Neil Zuber of the 20th nor Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi from the 24th has yet responded. We will update this story if they do.

NEWS | 54 comments | permalink
    1. Vincent says:

      Pedestrian safety has become a joke on the Upper West Side. Last week I watched someone nearly get hit at 79th and Riverside, in addition there was a car parked in the crosswalk at 76th and Riverside, which remained there for over an hour with no consequences. If the cars don’t hit you, the the scooters will.

    2. PM says:

      There’s one easy ticket they can – and should – write, without even having to go to the street. Just watch teh Zoom video and send it to her in the mail.

    3. Sallie Mae says:

      ZERO speeding tickets in the 20th, two months in a row? Give me the write-up pad and I’ll stand on Amsterdam and get you 50 in a day. Come on, NYPD.

      • Jay says:

        Sallie Mae:

        I’m surprised it’s the precincts that do the speeding tickets.

        Takes different equipment, and you have to be prepared to follow a driver to get him to pull over.

        As you say, speeding enforcement sure doesn’t seem a priority on Amsterdam.

        • Josh says:

          Precincts do speed enforcement on the local roads, such as Broadway. Each precinct has at least 2 radar guns. And they are prepared to pull cars over- that’s why their cars have those lights and sirens. Most drivers pull over within a block.

    4. RL says:

      reduced traffic? That was in March/April 2020 – not 2021 – the place is gridlocked most of the time. However I can attest that they were all over me like a rash making an illegal left turn in my rental car (drive so infrequently I didn’t notice a sign had gone up over the winter on CPW). “Zero tolerance” I was informed. Well at least for illegal left hand turns it seems – not for the dirt bike rider causing merrily up the bike line on CPW the other day.

      • Ham140 says:

        The 20th precinct can get give out a lot of tickets at 63rd and cpw parents park there cars there blocking the m10 bus daily the drivers told me that they complained to the mta bosses in one ear out the other keep up the good work mayor do nothing.

    5. Nora says:

      Getting worse and more dangerous every day. Isn’t the issue that police are required to go to court to prosecute moving violations, and that costly requirement diminishes the power of violations? Police don’t have the time to go to court if the ticket is challenged and violators know that. If I’m right re the process, a big change is necessary. What do we need to do to enable meaningful fines without the high cost of the right to “confront your accuser.”

      • Vladimir says:

        The way to do that is get rid of the NYS DMV traffic violations bureau system where there is no plea bargaining & every case is forced to go to trial. Nassau County plea bargains the vast majority of their cases & does a better job of getting more fine revenue.

    6. lynn says:

      The accidents involving pedestrians, bikes and cars, within the range of 68th and 79th and WEA and Columbus, was out of control the past 2 weeks. I had to shut off the alerts on my citizens app because it never stopped going off!

    7. G says:

      Thank you for taking this on for us.

    8. wants to live says:

      cars routinely hit 50-60mph in a 25 on riverside between 104th and 108th during the day.

      there should be speed and red light cameras on every block of riverside drive between 96 and 125 turned on 24/7. they would pay for themselves in a week and fund unlimited nypd overtime

    9. Susann says:

      You can’t have it both ways…defund the police, cut their budget by $1 billion…coupled with no bail, releasing criminals and emptying jails, not prosecuting misdemeanor crimes…now you WANT police protection? Ha. Elections have consequences.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        In what city is that happening?

      • Steen says:

        The only monetary cuts to the NYPD have been pandemic related–the same as every other department in the city. Their budget this year is $414M. They appear (to many of us) to have unilaterally decided to stop working in many areas in protest of potential, future cuts. They are still drawing salaries and pensions while not working. One example: those unlicensed motorbikes that scream up and down the road are padlocked on Amsterdam in front of every other bodega, yet they never get removed or ticketed. That is a problem.

        • Ken says:

          I could provide other, different, examples, but your comment is spot on. I would hope that others here take it seriously.

        • Frank says:

          There is a safety issue when it comes to catching ATV/Bikers. If they slam into pedestrians trying to avoid police pursuit what do you think is going to happen to that motivated cop who activated his lights and sirens trying to do good for the community? How fast we gonna hear an outcry from city council and even some residents “they are just kids enjoying their bikes”

    10. Christine E says:

      Is there a process for volunteers to report violations? I am pretty sure there is a willing volunteer brigade for this. The volunteer could upload/report the time and license # and photos, NYPD could cross-check vs street cameras, and build the evidence file. The volunteer could testify in court so NYPD doesn’t have to.

      • Lisa says:

        Great idea Christine. Right now citizens can get a monetary bonus for catching vehicles that idle. This is the same concept. However, it’s much easier to take a picture or video of the vehicle idling for proof, than it is to identify who owns a speeding bike with no license.

        • Upper West Side Cyclist says:

          Speeding bike? The speed limit is 25 and very few cyclists, whether on pedal bikes or e-bikes, can hit that speed on anything other than a downhill. Those “speeding” delivery cyclists on e-bikes are doing about 22mph. It 10% BELOW the speed limit.

    11. Andrea Lois Becker says:

      Defund the police? Not on my watch! We may, however, need a dedicated group for traffic violations and public safety. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been close to being hit by bikes, scooters, and cars, even in the crosswalk in front of my building, with the light indicating it was “safe” lol to cross.

      • Ken Hittel says:

        Hello, Andrea, get around the incredibly stupid tagline of “defund the police” & understand that want you want here is exactly what “defund” means — provide the money in their budget to organizations that can do a much better job. Why have we ever thought that we should use police to deal w/ traffic?

        • LL says:

          Is this a joke? It is maybe not fair that a precinct Jas to deal with traffic snd crime, but the police have a whole department to deal with traffic. And traffic is about public safety and the law. Who better to deal withntraffic?

    12. Jay says:

      Is the 24 the only precinct on the UWS?

    13. Sherry Levine says:

      Cars, trucks, bikes, motorcycle traffic have increased and so has the noise (loud music) on West End Ave between 93-96th Streets. Even with windows closed its unbearable. What happened to the “no commercial traffic” rule?

    14. Ben B says:

      Cars speed right through the stop signs on Riverside Drive service road, all the time in the W90s and 100s. It is extremely dangerous. We need a better way to patrol for enhanced security.

    15. Teo says:

      Don’t think even speed cameras would help, hasn’t anyone noticed all the temporary plates? Many of them are fake knowing full well they won’t get pulled over and speed/red light/ toll cameras won’t fine them.

    16. js says:

      Cyclists on Citibike and regular bikes, people on t-scooters, skateboarders – virtually all go through red lights and many go the wrong way and quite a few also on sidewalks.

      Feel sorry for the exploited food delivery workers…
      actually it is the “regular” cyclists who are most egregious and entitled – and endanger everyone.

      • Jay says:

        js,

        Skateboards are legal on sidewalks, and you can hear them coming.

        • js says:

          Jay,
          Truly amazing that able-bodied adults are skateboarding, bicycling and using t-scooters on sidewalks….

      • Ken Hittel says:

        You couldn’t be more right. There are scofflaws, and then there are everyday bike riders…

    17. morris shamah says:

      The city insists on the 25 MPH on streets like Ocean Parkway-just silly- but with the speed cameras, its a great source of income. I wouldn’t be surprised if the reduced it lower to increase their cash flow.
      As far as speeding and red lights- cameras etc have replaced the police.

      A sfar as motor bikes and cycles go, with all their dangers- absolutely no enforcement.Can u imagine an officer standing in the bike lane to give tickets? I imagine that the offender would just say he has no ID on him and give a false name .Perhaps the sellers of these devices must be monitored and fined.
      But, the bottom line is- there si so little discipline, so little accepting authority that the rules are easily broken with no compunctions.

      • Josh says:

        Actually, if you have no ID, the police would detain you until your identity can be firmly established. And police can and do issue tickets to cyclists.

        Sounds like you got some automated tickets. Look at it this way, if it was a cop that stopped you, the fine would have been much higher and your insurance would go up. Automated systems have been shown to change driver behavior (aka keep them within the law) which is why they are used – but scofflaws always complain that it is just to increase revenue. But all you have to do, to avoid the ticket, is stay within the law!

    18. Joan says:

      The actress who was recently hit by an electric bike and was in a coma has just died. What will it take for the police to enforce the law and ticket scooters and bikes who go right through the lights, ride the wrong way, and ride on the sidewalks? W. 66th and West End Avenue is particularly bad to cross because bikes and scooters totally don’t care about going through the light.

    19. Michael says:

      I would like the NYPD to accept this responsibility, but clearly they are not. The Stanford Law Review had an interesting article on removing traffic enforcement from the purview of the police and transferring the enforcement to publicly staffed “traffic agencies” who would be responsible for in-person traffic stops.

      Lisa Banes died last night. How many more before this is taken seriously?

      https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3702680

    20. Mike says:

      Unmarked cars target yellow cabs and T-license vehicles at West 70th and Riverside Blvd for a few days every month. It’s usually early or mid-month. Teams of up to 4 unmarked cars with two officers in each car wait for yellow cabs and livery vehicles to roll through stop signs on R-side or West 70th. Then the unmarked cars pull them over. Never normal passenger cars or other vehicles, despite abundant and egregious violations of stop signs while unmarked cars are in place. I’ve seen this on several days over the last couple of months. Most recently 3 unmarked cars with 2 officers each, and 2 cars with one supervisor each.

      So local police (I think they are from 20th) know how to enforce traffic violations, and they have at least 5 unmarked vehicles to deploy. But they are highly selective: (1) stop livery cars only; (2) just a few days per month; (3) all-way stop signs are rare in this part of Manhattan, but offer the easiest and most productive hunting grounds. Given the way this operation unfolds, I can’t see any indication that improving pedestrian or traffic safety is a major goal.

      • Mike says:

        Not so sure that is the NYPD pulling over the taxis, etc. that may be taxi & Limo enforcement division

    21. Lynn says:

      What about all the damn bikes and scooters on the sidewalk. It is so dangerous just walking on the street. They zoom by and if by chance I happen to make a step in a different direction I’ve almost been hit many times. They should not be on the sidewalks. I feel that the crazy ATV’s motorcycles and delivery bikes are taking over the city. It’s really distressing.

    22. Maddi says:

      Time to go after the bikers that run lights, go the wrong way, ride on sidewalks, and disallow electric bikes, scooters on bike paths. They are a menace to pedestrians.

    23. JEFSantamonica says:

      I got lucky, Lisa Banes did not. I feel for her family. I was pulling for her.
      I have a sprained arm and multiple bruises after being hit at 74th/Amsterdam(10 blocks north of where Lisa was hit). The light was red, the cross walk had the white light to walk – he ran the red light, hit me, I fell to the ground and he just kept on going. Police said they don’t issue tickets as the courts throw them out.
      These bikes need to obey traffic laws, and the police need to post traffic police along Amsterdam. The motorized bikes are a menace.

    24. D says:

      I saw a woman run TWO red lights yesterday at 91st & 90th heading south on Columbus – right as kids were crossing from nearby schools. The second light involved a left on red! Didn’t slow even little and I have seen this woman before but never manage to get her plate #.

      I went to the 20th precinct who told me to go to the 24th but warned me they wouldn’t do anything. He spent more time telling me how to safely cross the street.

      • Nevets K says:

        All this is the result of Community Board 7 encouraging the construction of protected electric bike lanes on the UWS.
        Without the construction of these lanes, none of this would be happening.
        “Stupid, poorly thought out ideas have consequences.”

        • UWSbikesKill says:

          Correct and CB7 transportation committee may be proposing to widen the bike lanes (yes, by removing a lane of traffic) to allow more room in the bike lane for a fast and slow bike lane as a solution! They already tried this past meeting and Sara Lind promised to bring a new proposal at the next meeting. The pro-bike contingent refuses to accept many cyclists pose a deadly threat to pedestrians.

          Watch them carefully and participate in these meetings to make your voice heard.

    25. Carlos says:

      I have been following this thread and ironically just saw an unmarked police car on 84th facing Amsterdam (next to West Side Kids) with two officers in it. I assume they were monitoring traffic and not just having a coffee break.

      I agree that there should be more speed monitoring. The salaries would pay for themselves. The bikers going the wrong way on one ways are a real terror. I have learned to look both ways even when I shouldn’t have to but they often come fast.

    26. E says:

      i’m sick and tired of the bicyclists riding on the sidewalk, zooming through lights and/or going in the wrong direction. This causes accidents to people and our pets. The money from the tickets will pay for the folks writing them.

      • Boris says:

        I’m sick and tired of people constantly parroting the mantra of cyclists going the wrong way, running red lights, and riding on the sidewalk. How many times does the same unoriginal comment have to be made?

        • Upper West Side Cyclist says:

          Boris, I hear you, but the reality is that there are too many cyclists who ride on sidewalks, salmon (ride the wrong way), and blow through crowded intersections without yielding to pedestrians. There are two issues abound: 1) people want their food delivered RIGHT NOW and dont want to pay a delivery fee and 2) enforcement is focused on low hanging fruit, AKA easy to catch behaviors that are rarely dangerous and the actual dangerous behavior is ignored. And humans are inherently self centered, so many in the cycling community refuse to be put.out by a pedestrian, even if the pedestrian is the one with the right of way. While these bad apples are actually in the minority of all cyclists, people always notice the one being bad and not the other dozen being good. But we cyclists need to acknowledge this bad behavior and call it out.

        • Phoebe says:

          As many times as it takes.

    27. Astoria Resident says:

      I participated in a traffic safety zoom with the community and the 114th precinct in Astoria last week. It was insanely frustrating. The community is sick and tired of reckless driving and excessive noise from drivers and their illegally modified vehicles, some of which are illegal on city streets. Basically, the NYPD advised the community to continue to make complaints to 311, because they won’t be doing anything about any of this. This kind of quality of life issue is why people are leaving and why people have no faith in the NYPD.

    28. Ian Alterman says:

      Is it irony or tragedy that just above this article is the one about the actress who was killed in a hit and run by someone on a scooter?

    29. mimla says:

      if you can do the job better please apply,,,i see alot of hypocrisy and hypocrites here,, nypd.org take the test,,then maybe you’ll understand how this all works,,,