Last month, the NYC data blogger Ben Wellington of I Quant NY discovered the most profitable fire hydrant in the city. Wellington analyzed data about parking tickets to find the spot, which sits on Forsyth between Rivington and Delancey on the Lower East Side.
He also figured out why the hydrant is such a money-maker: confusingly, the spot in front of it was painted as if it’s a legal place to park. Now, after his reporting received coverage here and elsewhere, the city’s Department of Transportation fixed the spot, painting broad white lines across it to ensure people know it’s illegal.
Wellington wrote on his blog:
The good news in all of this is that the DOT acted on this data point incredibly quickly once they were aware of it. Within weeks, the two parking spots were repainted (see above) to make it clear that they were in fact illegal. And that bit of paint will save New Yorkers over $55,000 a year. This may be a small victory for the Open Data movement, but it’s an important one. And it is the proof that anyone can use Open Data, the internet and great sites like reddit to improve our neighborhoods and our great city, one small discovery at a time.