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New York Asks People to Report Bike-Lane Blockers

Cyclists and others inconvenienced by cars in bike lanes can complain about it online.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

New Yorkers have long had many ways to deal with people parked in bike lanes. There’s the classic death-glare, or taking a photo for online shaming, or getting in a yelling match and maybe knocking a mirror off with your U-lock.

This week the city added another option: officially reporting lane squatters through its 311 app and 311 website. To make a complaint, go to the drop-down selection for “Illegal Parking” and specify “Blocked Bike Lane.” Here’s more from Streetsblog NYC:

One of the benefits of the update, in addition to making bike lane blockers easier to report, is that there will now be a specific record of user-reported, geo-tagged bike lane violations to 311. Until now, any bike lane blocker reported to 311 would get filed under the vaguer category of “illegal parking.”

There’s no photo option, but users can provide specific location details and mark whether the complaint is a recurring problem. Of course, it’s still up to police to clear bike lanes of parked vehicles—and NYPD officers are themselves some of the city’s worst bike lane violators.

Whether this small technological advance will have any impact on cyclists is unknown, but it’s probably already thrilling data visualizers, with at least a few no doubt crafting plans for the New York Bike Lane Blockers Map.

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.