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Streetfilms: Anti-Idling Laws Clear City Council

Two laws designed to decrease pollutants and other safety hazards posed by idling vehicles passed the City Council this week. As shown in this Streetfilm by Elizabeth Press, Council Member John Liu's Intro 631 cuts down the amount of time drivers are allowed to idle near schools from three minutes to one minute. A second bill, sponsored by David Yassky, expands enforcement power by allowing agents of the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Sanitation to issue idling summonses, appearance tickets and violation notices. The bill also gives citizens the ability to report truck violations.

The Yassky bill does not supercede a third idling bill, from Daniel Garodnick, which would permit traffic agents to issue idling tickets using their hand-held computers. "The two bills in essence work in tandem," said a spokesman from Garodnick's office, who explained that the proposal would require a rule change by the Department of Finance, which has indicated its support for the measure.

Advocates hope the new laws will not only reduce pollution, but will encourage motorists to turn their vehicles off, reducing the risk of another crash like the the one that killed two children in Chinatown.

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