Streetfilms: Idle-Free NYC

Last Tuesday, May 5, in honor of World Asthma Day and Idle-Free NYC Day, clean air advocates gathered at City Hall to mark the passage of Council Member John Liu’s Intro. 631, which limits the amount of time drivers are allowed to idle near schools to one minute. Streetfilms’ Robin Urban Smith files this report, which includes details of an anti-idling curriculum for fourth and seventh graders from Livable Streets Education and Asthma Free School Zone.

In related news, Senator Daniel Squadron has announced a bill calling for a statewide one minute idling restriction for "heavy-duty vehicles." And today there will be a rally in Manhattan to celebrate the adoption of Intro. 631 and to launch the West Side Clean Air Campaign, which, among other goals, aims to ensure that charter buses and car services obey the new law. The rally kicks off with a press conference at 3 p.m. at the P.S. 111 playground on 52nd St. between 9th and 10th Aves.

  • ddartley

    Council Member Elizabeth Crowley has a good bill concerning idling in City Council now:
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/03/26/council-bill-would-raise-fine-for-unattended-idling-vehicles/

    Two great things about it are 1. it authorizes cops to take the keys right out of the ignition of an unattended, idling vehicle (such vehicles’ operators are breaking two laws at once) and 2. it fines such operators a good $250!

    I urge everyone to support it.

    Even though it has two problems, at least the last time I read it:

    1. it keeps the same old 3-minute allowance, which should simply be scrapped altogether. Even 1 minute is silly. Simply ban unattended idling. Who’s watching the clock for each vehicle? That question alone would get every single one of these citations dismissed.

    2. it does not define the word “unattended.” As I have experienced myself, vehicle operators will say “well, I’m working nearby, so it’s not unattended.” And of course if there’s someone sitting in the passenger’s seat, they’ll call that “attended.” And of course the purpose of the law is to prevent the deadly dangers of having no one at the CONTROLS of the vehicle. This issue too will get lots of citations thrown out.

    I have called CM Crowley’s legislative office a couple times about these flaws, and all I ever get is a voice mail greeting that says the office is closed.

    I urge people to contact her other ways, commend her for the bill, but ask her to fix those two flaws, especially the second one.

    Finally, she should work with Dan Garodnick, who’s got a bill out that would authorize Traffic Agents to issue idling summonses. I’m not sure if that bill would cover this particular idling issue, but generally it would address the overall risk of poor enforcement since traffic agents, unlike cops, famously DO ticket every violation they witness (and good for them, damn it.) Garodnick and Crowley should make sure each other’s bills would work together.

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