June 16, 2022 By Christian Murray
Juan Ardila, a candidate running to represent western Queens in the state Assembly and a crusader against car culture, drives a compact sports utility vehicle that has racked up nearly 30 traffic violations since 2019.
The black Audi Q3 has been hit with multiple speed camera violations in school zones in the vicinity of Queens Boulevard and 55th Street. The vehicle has been ticketed for blocking crosswalks, parking in front of fire hydrants to obstructing driveways. There is also a bus lane violation, and a violation for blocking a pedestrian ramp.
Multiple people have told the Queens Post that he drives the vehicle and have provided photos and videos of him in it. He is often seen driving through western Queens as he campaigns to represent the 37th Assembly District, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Ridgewood and Maspeth.
His critics argue that his violations undermine his campaign, since he is a staunch advocate for street safety. His platform calls for conflict-free protected bicycle lanes, pedestrian safety measures and an end to car culture. He was endorsed by StreetsPAC today, which he announced via twitter.
🚨 ENDORSEMENT ALERT! I am thrilled to announce that we’re now backed by @StreetsPAC. Our streets belong to everyone, including #pedestrians & #cyclists. #Transportation is a matter of #justice & #equity. I will fight to make sure all NYers have safe access to our #publicspaces pic.twitter.com/yb3oNOzafi
— Juan Ardila (@JuanArdilaNYC) June 16, 2022
Ardila, when questioned about the violations, told the Queens Post “I don’t have a car.” In a short unannounced phone interview, he refused to say who the vehicle belonged to, nor did he address the violations. He said he had to get off the phone but would call back in 5 minutes.
He didn’t call back, and after the Queens Post reached out again, he sent a text asking for the questions to be e-mailed. The questions were e-mailed but there has been no response.
The DMV did not provide the name of the registered owner of the vehicle. Tim O’Brien, a spokesperson for the state DMV, said the agency typically does not share private registration information citing the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).
The Audi has been hit with 41 violations since 2017, although the limited public records available show that the vehicle was sold to an unnamed party in Queens in 2018. Since then, the vehicle appears to have remained in the name of one owner and has generated 29 violations.
Multiple people have said that they have seen Ardila driving the vehicle in recent years. In fact, video was taken of him in the car prior to a candidate forum held at the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church on Thursday June 9.
“I heard that he had a lot of traffic violations, so when I saw him in the car I took photos,” said Stefan Smetko, who was at the forum working on behalf of Brent O’Leary who is also vying for the Assembly seat.
Smetko also captured video of Ardila getting out of the vehicle.
Ardila was also captured on tape on May 11, 2021, getting into the Audi when it was illegally parked in a crosswalk in Middle Village. The footage was taken on Caldwell Avenue by Dan Kurzyna, who worked on Councilmember Bob Holden’s 2021 re-election campaign, when the councilmember defeated Ardila.
Kurzyna and Kevin Ryan, who also worked on Holden campaign, both say they often see Ardila in the vehicle. They said that these sightings are what led them to get the video.
Councilmember Holden, in an interview Wednesday, said that he sees Ardila driving the vehicle all the time. The councilmember, who lives on Caldwell Avenue, says he often sees Ardila in the Audi from the window of his house.
In fact, according to public records, the vehicle has been written up for six violations in the vicinity of Caldwell Avenue and 72nd Street, hit with offenses such as blocking a crosswalk, parking in front of a driveway to obstructing a driveway.
“I’ve seen him a lot,” Holden said. “He has no regard for traffic and parking regulations. He parks it wherever he wants. He parks it in crosswalks, in front of hydrants, people’s driveways—wherever he pleases.”
“If Ardila denies that he drives it, then he is a liar,” Holden added.
Holden called Ardila a hypocrite.
“He wants us out of our cars, yet he drives around in a late model car and parks it anywhere he wants and endangers the public. That should disqualify him from holding any elected office and so should his past racial and ethnic slurs he made on social media.”
Holden was referring to a series of derogatory comments Ardila reportedly made on Facebook from 2009 to 2011 about Asians, gays, women and Jews while he was a teenager. The NYPost reported the story last year.
When the Queens Post asked Ardila, 28, about the Facebook posts during a candidate forum on May 24, he didn’t directly answer the question and instead told the audience that he had been endorsed by several progressive leaders and is running on a campaign of inclusivity.
“I am running on a campaign that focuses on inclusivity, diversity and progressive politics for western and central Queens,” he said. He then went on to say: “I am honored to be supported by city council member Tiffany Cabán. I am honored to be supported by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and I have been endorsed by the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens … all champions of the progressive space and all champions fighting for an inclusive Queens that works for everyone.”
Another Democratic Socialist di as I say not as I do. All these Dem Socialists eant to defund Police and close jails and support The No bail law and DA’s such as Alvin Bragg who will not prosecute criminals.Remember in NY we do mot have recall laws on the books as Calif did when San Francisco
recalled DA Chesa Boudon who like Bragg was soft on prosecuting crominals. These Dem.Socialist Hypocrites have security but do not wantbyou to be safe. Hear thst AOC and Cori Bush ,Jamaal Bowman,Tiffany Caban, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar etc.. Remember only Dem. Socialist Gov. Kathy Hochul can remove a FA. She tegisef to remove Alvin Bragg. She only put a band- aid on No bail t law making a few more crimes eligible. It is notbenough Kathy. Go give some mote billions to illegals who did not get stimulus checks and she overturned a proposal voters voted for last November It said you needed a valid reason to request a absenter ballot. She had the votets will overturned . Look it up and the $2 billion for ilkegals originally put forth by Cuomo. Hochil made it easier for illegals to get the money. She waived their ID and whete they worked proof. Many worked off the books and paid no taxes