Stuyvesant Town residents tell cops the biggest problem is Hell on two wheels

Traffic Safety Officer Javier Alvarez and NCO officers Peter Rodriguez and Manuel Rodriguez address Stuyvesant Town residents’ bike-related concerns. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Electric bikes as well as the old-fashioned variety of two-wheelers wound up being the hot topic at the first meeting of the 13th Precinct’s Neighborhood Coordinating Officer program for residents of Stuyvesant Town.

Officers from the 13th Precinct were at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center last Thursday evening for the new NCO program and addressed the bike operations being conducted in the area.

In particular, the NYPD has been cracking down on delivery people who use e-bikes and 13th Precinct Traffic Safety Officer Javier Alvarez said that the precinct conducted over 20 separate operations last year. During that time, 135 e-bikes were confiscated and summonses were given. All the while, officers, perhaps as a warning, would post photos of the confiscated bikes on the precinct’s Twitter feed.

Alvarez said that there is some confusion among residents about what’s legal and what’s not regarding e-bikes, which are a frequent topic of discussion at the regular precinct community council meetings.

“The confusion is that the bikes aren’t illegal to own,” he said. “You can also ride them like regular bikes but it becomes illegal when you engage the motor.”

Residents at the meeting, however, said that it wasn’t only e-bikes that posed a threat.

“It’s not just the e-bikes,” one Stuyvesant Town resident said. “People on regular bikes are always riding on the sidewalks, going too fast and going against traffic.”

Another resident at the meeting said that the work the precinct is doing doesn’t seem to be enough.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been the victim of a near miss,” she said. “I feel like I see 135 of these every day.”

Alvarez said that the precinct is trying to increase the number of operations but one of the main issues is that the riders will pay the fine and be out again the next day.

The meeting also included warnings for residents about the increasing number of scams that especially target seniors. John Molly, a representative from Con Edison who works in corporate security for the company, admitted that Stuy Town and Peter Cooper residents are less of a target than other residents in the city.

“This is a unique location because you don’t have (Con Edison) meters,” Molly said. “So I hope you can figure out that you don’t owe us any money.”

Still, Molly said that residents should be aware of other scammers who say they’re calling from various companies, telling residents to go to CVS or Walgreens and buy gift cards to pay fines. Police have warned residents at meetings in the past about the creative ways in which scammers attempt to bilk residents and one meeting attendee noted she got a call about a friend being in trouble and needing fast cash.

Molly also warned residents to be wary of uniformed employees because despite the official-looking attire, not all of them are upstanding citizens. Police officer Manny Rodriguez, one of the NCOs for the Stuyvesant Town neighborhood, reiterated this concern because of a recent related arrest.

Rodriguez said that the NYPD was able to make an arrest of a man who had been stealing packages from buildings in Stuyvesant Town and was seen on security footage wearing a UPS uniform, but with help from Stuy Town management and the surveillance video, officers were able to catch him.

21 thoughts on “Stuyvesant Town residents tell cops the biggest problem is Hell on two wheels

  1. I can name a couple incidents over the past year where pedestrians or cyclists were gravely injured or killed by automobile drivers in this district, and none where cyclists killed anyone.

    While it’s exceptionally rude behavior for anyone to ride a bicycle on a crowded sidewalk at any speed, with any type of bike… the ongoing complaints are mis-focused and petty. We have 20,000+ bicycle trips circulating through the district every day, the vast majority of them legal and safe, and most of them are using the network of protected lanes provided by the DOT. We have a hardcore fringe group of Stuy Town residents who fight every single addition to the bike lane network on even the flimsiest of rationales, all while they are inviting bike deliveries into the complex + while other residents are fighting to extend the infrastructure. This is a community at-odds over a basic method of transport, with one side ignoring all the community leadership from the elected officials, city agencies, two consecutive Mayor, a procession of Council Speakers and Borough Presidents + the NYPD itself.

    There is an obsession with maximum criminalization and restriction of bicycle access, and eradication of the infrastructure that keeps road users separated. Ostensibly, the aim of all this is to put more automobile street parking on the curbside again – no one is suggesting that we should widen the crowded sidewalks or put up relief stations or expand bus stops, or anything like that.

    It would be great to have the residents attend community meetings and try to figure out where the design/demand issues exist so that legal cycling is easier and less obtrusive for vulnerable residents (we can make great progress on these goals), and to make walking easier in the area, so that the enforcement then could be focused on pulling the riskiest riders off the streets. I look forward to more residents participating in that process, and not dominating every police community meeting with declarations that bicyclists need to be wiped out.

    • and none where cyclists killed anyone.

      So death is the only metric? I’ll tell that to an elderly family friend, who was knocked onto the pavement and badly injured by some bro on a citibike who ran a red light while riding UP Second Avenue…

      Sorry E… but hey, you’re still alive, so no biggie…

  2. LOL. Does Brian actually see what goes on in and around Stuy Town. Every day, every hour, and usually every stoplight at 19th St and 1st Ave, I see bikes running through a red light in front of them. It’s different on the major cross streets, because bicyclists don’t want to take a chance and get hit. If he doubts me, I challenge him to be with me, every day, around 19th Street and see if bicyclists stop at a red light. Oh, and it would be nice if he paid me a dollar for every bike that doesn’t stop there. Easy money for me!

    As for e-bikes, I know the difference between running a motor and not. The ones that I see inside Stuy Town are usually running their motor and not pedaling to deliver food nice and hot.

  3. It would be nice if management were to fix the signs for “10 MPH” on the Loop Roads. The UPS trucks back up into these signs and knock them down. The result is that Uber and Lyft drivers speed through the Loop Roads. Why were the speed bumps removed? Nobody knows. The Tenant Association needs to focus on QOL issues that could lead to loss of life or serious injury, rather than wage its endless crusade against the Farmers Market.

  4. I know three (3) elderly people who were hit by bikes on the sidewalk near StyTown and their lives were ruined forever. Shattered hips and pelvises don’t heal to well and too fast when you are elderly. It’s almost tantamount to murdering them. I also saw a sidewalk bicycle rider go straight into a little girl (aged about 5 or 6) his front wheel went right into her pelvis. She was in absolute agony as she was taken away by ambulance. I wonder what lifelong problems that little lass will suffer? This happened up by the 7/11 near Morton Williams.
    I am SICK of these bloody bicyclists and find it hard to muster any sympathy when I hear of one getting killed by a car.
    They should be FORCED to obey the law or be BANNED from the City.

    • I’m reading this as, “All bicyclists should obey the law or ALL bicyclists should be banned from the city”

      How does it make sense to apply this thinking only to cyclists riding 25lb bicycles and not to 2-ton automobile drivers?

      On the flipside, if cyclists are observed to be putting people in danger, maybe there should be some restrictions attached to the citations. Yet it would also be nuts if we permanently suspended drivers’ licenses for broken taillights, no? There should be similar carveouts for bicycles in the laws – flagrant right-of-way violations and collisions due to reckless behavior should get targeted for sanctions, and things like “broken tail light” and “didn’t come to a full stop at a stop sign” (on a bicycle) should not.

      However, I get the feeling this is not agreeable to everyone here; in fact, I’m waiting for some of the people to respond to me as if I’m some kind of terrorist suggesting that anyone on two wheels get anything less than full state suppression.

      • I’d like you to respond to my challenge, which I already gave on the same day you wrote your post. I saw and see bikes going past a red light all the time at 1st and 19th. You are ignoring this challenge but still making pronouncements!

        • I replied to this and the blog ate the reply.

          I basically laid out how bicyclists can hurt people when they do reckless things in the wrong spots, but can’t hurt anyone at that intersection because it’s little-used and mostly empty and probably shouldn’t have a traffic control to begin with. Labeling that specific intersection for enforcement is to disregard any/all collision data we have & to find a way to write the most amount of tickets to cyclists who are yielding to pedestrians in that empty place, and not citing cyclists who are nearly mowing down people in other spots. The appearance is that cyclists who are behaving in a safe manner should be punished for anything we can find, regardless of outcomes.

          How about redesigning the intersection to make sense for how it is used, rather than trying to maximize the number of commuters dragged into court?

        • That’s patently false and a ridiculous statement. Simply because there is no through traffic doesn’t make it irrelevant except to scofflaws who choose to blow through red lights.

        • @Garodnick Sucks (foaming-at-the-mouth anonymous user who seems to hate life in Stuy Town) While there’s a possibly lengthy debate to be had about the moral and ethical obligations to observe traffic controls at an intersection that is designed poorly, the discussion is really about, “should the police prioritize ticketing at the one empty intersection instead of the several nearby intersections with a lot of pedestrian traffic, in order to maximize the number of tickets written to cautious cyclists who proceed only when the coast is clear?” Is that intersection really a big deal to everyone? It sounds like everyone is just angry about the principle of it, and wasting the community’s time demanding for punitive action to be taken. You can say that cyclists riding past E19th Street are technically riding through a red light, but you can’t argue that cyclists going through an empty intersection are dangerous and a high-priority for police.

        • So the answer is…you are not accepting my challenge. Damn, I was hoping to win some easy money.

  5. One of the greatest dangers in the neighborhood besides the CitiBikes ridden by idiots and scofflaws is the illegal parking of NYPD vehicles and officer’s private vehicles with placards that park illegally all over second and third avenues. They routinely block the line of sight for pedestrians. If you’re heading west you can’t see oncoming vehicular traffic. If you’re heading east you can’t see oncoming bicycles. Not to mention the fact that they (the NYPD) park their vehicles (both business and personal) in bus stops so the elderly and handicapped have to suffer, they park in turn lanes so traffic backs up, they even park dead smack in the middle of the cross walk right between two schools so school aged children are forced to walk into the line of oncoming (or worse from behind) traffic, all so that the officers have to walk less than a block to the station house. They are just bad neighbors, plain and simple. I’d love to hear Officer Alvarez’s explanation on this. On the side of NYPD vehicles is the inscription, CPR, Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect…pardon the expression but …my ass.

    • Agreed! It’s amazing to find out that the 13th precinct has a traffic safety officer. Where has he been the past few YEARS? He certainly doesn’t take the job very seriously. Does the NYPD blindfold him until he’s a few blocks from the precinct? The NYPD is the reason there is traffic in the neighborhood. They once parked a BUS in the crosswalk on 21st and second (between the 2 schools you mentioned) and left it there for almost a month. They stored 4 unmarked cars in the bus stop on 20th and third for 6 months. Too bad for anyone who needed to use that bus stop, but at least NY’s finest (lol) were able to make it to the precinct OK and that’s what matters (to them). Shameless!

      • The most egregious thing I have observed regarding the NYPD was several years ago when I was walking to the bus stop on 20th and second. While I waited to cross the avenue the bus pulled up and couldn’t get into the stop due to several police cruisers that were parked in the bus stop for several days at this point. Then I noticed that a young woman in a wheelchair was forced to exit the bus in the middle of the avenue. Fortunately for her the bus driver and another man lifted her up onto the curbside, I was appalled and made it my mission to call out the police department ever since, all to no avail as they simply do not care. Case in point as I came home from work tonight (on public transportation because I can’t get free parking right outside my office) there was the same police van with the markings FSD 8185 parked illegally blocking pedestrians views as I stated previously. This particular van has been parking illegally for several YEARS now. This van has caused at least one collision that I witnessed between a bicycle and a pedestrian and at least 1 very narrow miss with a toddler whose father yanked her out from under the wheels of a citibike at the very last second. I have reported this vehicle several hundred times and yet it still is parked illegally even today, Even Keith Powers office can’t get the NYPD to care. I believe it was the NY Post that dubbed the NYPD, NY’s fattest, I hated it when I first heard it but now it makes complete sense, Clearly, the officer who does this should be terminated and have his pension pulled for his utter disregard and disdain for the very people he is supposed to protect. In my opinion the commanding officer of the 13th precinct should resign. It’s officers like these that give all the NYPD a bad name, You would think they would police their own, but no. It really is quite sad.

    • Wow, just wow. Truly unbelievable. I have tons of photos I could add to that site. I may have to join twitter.

    • Blame Bloomberg for this. Parking regs were enforced sporadically, until Bloomberg realized the amount of cash that could be raked in by vigorous ticketing. Under his watch, the city vastly increased the number of TEA’s, and blanketed neighborhoods with them 24/7. It was then that everyone and their cousin started sporting placards on their dash.

      That said, “placard abuse” is pretty much a manufactured issue by the car hate crowd. If all were eliminated tomorrow, there’d be no noticeable reduction in traffic congestion.

      • Do you cross second or third avenue? Placard abuse is alive and well and very dangerous in the 13th precinct.

      • “If all were eliminated tomorrow, there’d be no noticeable reduction in traffic congestion.”

        Bogus. And BTW, I own a car. And I ride. And I walk. There are close to 200,000 of these placards. Congestion pricing is a joke unless this major NYC/NYS corruption issue is addressed.

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