Placard abuse has long been an issue for New Yorkers and transit advocates, who criticize city workers for using their credentials to park in illegal spots, such as in front of fire hydrants or in bike lanes, without fear of punishment.
“We have to do better New York,” Yang said with his trademark optimism on a rainy afternoon. “I often biked my kids to school and illegally parked cars always got in the way.”
“I’m not the only New York who has run into an illegally parked car or a car that is parked inappropriately,” added the tech entrepreneur and former presidential hopeful. “At this point, placards are being distributed so broadly and being used for either official or unofficial purposes that they’re actually causing inconvenience and hazards for many New Yorkers.”
The details of Yang’s plan reflect one proposed by the de Blasio administration. The candidate is calling for the implementation of a digital placard system that can be easily scanned to check for violations.
Additionally, the plan calls for increased funding to the Department of Transportation to improve enforcement and the establishment of hotlines for New Yorkers to report placard abuse. The digital system is also designed to crackdown on counterfeit placards.
Yang acknowledged the similarities to de Blasio’s plan, but affirmed his commitment to actually implementing the measures during his administration.
“I like the de Blasio system, just not enough progress has been made,” he explained. “The digital sticker system is going to be a big upgrade because they are harder to share between vehicles. I think we’ll see behavior change quickly.”
When asked if Yang would crack down on placard abuse within his own administration, the candidate responded with a humorous anecdote.
“One of my staffers on the way here said this probably means I won’t get a placard,” said Yang. “I asked him if he had a car. He said no.”
Placard abuse was not the only topic discussed. Earlier on Thursday, Brooklyn borough president and mayoral hopeful Eric Adams took a crack at Yang, criticizing the political newcomer for focusing on double-parked cars instead of racial justice after the death of Duante Wright in Minnesota.
“I think about what’s happening to families in New York all the time, particularly to victims of violent crime,” Yang responded when asked to address the criticism. “I think New Yorkers sense that we have the capacity to do multiple things at once.”
Yang never mentioned Adams by name, although it was hard to miss the symbolism of holding the press event in the shadow of Borough Hall. Ironically, multiple NYPD vehicles were parked on the sidewalk during the event.
Yang also took the opportunity to talk more broadly about his presence and appeal in the city’s outer boroughs.
“One of the problems we are facing as a city is that people feel like there are false divisions between communities and boroughs,” he said. “Division is not what New Yorkers are looking for. I get so much joy from New Yorkers in the street who are excited for our city to get on our feet.”