It’s one of the oldest dirty tricks in the books. You get people to go to your store by putting up a “closed” sign outside your competitor. And it’s a lesson allegedly learned by the folks at a mall in Queens, NY, where they’ve been caught putting official “no parking” signs on metered parking spots on surrounding public streets in an apparent move to get drivers into their parking garage.
According to photos like the one at the left and witnesses quoted by the NY Daily News, parking attendants at the Queens Center Mall have been taping the neon green “no parking” signs, complete with NYPD emblem, on parking meters on weekends and holidays. Sometimes they would go so far as to place traffic cones and sawhorse barricades to further discourage parking.
However, the NYPD has absolutely nothing to do with any of this.
“The precinct was not aware that these signs were being put up,” an NYPD spokesman said. “The only people that are allowed to put these signs up are the NYPD.”
While some accuse the mall of trying to force drivers away from the metered spots — which only cost $.75/hour — and into the garage, which is $3 for the first hour and $1 for every additional hour, the mall’s management says the reason for illegally posting the fake NYPD signs was “to facilitate traffic flow.”
The mall had originally gotten temporary permission to use no parking signs in 2004 during a period of heavy expansion and construction, but was not supposed to use them after construction was completed. But the mall decided to just keep on pretending as if they had the authority to block off parking spots not belonging to them.
“Initially, the signage was provided by the Police Department,” the mall rep explained. “Rather than have them re-issue the signs over and over, we created signs.”
The local NYPD precinct says they have since spoken to the parking staff at the mall to clarify the situation and the mall rep confirms, “we will not be putting the signs up anymore.”