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Daylighting

‘No-Brainer’: State Pol Seeks Citywide Parking Ban Near Intersections

State lawmakers want to force the city's hand on universal daylighting.

Photo: Josh Katz|

Poor daylighting forces pedestrians to peek out behind rows of parked cars for oncoming traffic.

The city would have to ban parking near all intersections under a bill in the state Legislature which was inspired by a year-long push by civic groups and politicians for the street safety treatment also known as daylighting.

Daylighting removes the cordon of cars at corners, thus clearing sight lines for drivers and pedestrians. Supporters say it is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to reduce crashes at intersections, where 55 percent of pedestrian traffic deaths and 79 percent of injuries occur, according to city data.

Here's how daylighting affects visibility.Graphic: Transportation Alternatives

The state already prohibits parking within 20 feet of intersections, but the city has long been allowed to exempt itself from that provision, opting for more car storage instead. But a growing chorus of community boards and lawmakers has pushed to end the carveout.

"The people want it, and it seems like a no-brainer," said Brooklyn Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, who recently introduced the proposal. "The changes are very obvious, people feel a lot safer crossing those intersections."

The proposed law comes after 16 community boards and three dozen elected officials have come out publicly in support of the corner parking ban over the past year, including state Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris, whose western Queens constituents launched the grassroots effort after a series of horrific traffic deaths at local intersections.

Cities such as Hoboken have aggressively rolled out daylighting for years and successfully curbed traffic fatalities, but Big Apple officials have been more hesitant to embrace the measure at all of the city's roughly 40,000 intersections.

But Simon said officials on this side of the Hudson must follow the example of the Mile Square City, noting that more and more cars clog the streets and that the vehicles's size is bloating with trucks and SUVs, blocking visibility even more.

"How many SUVs — big ones now — are out there, they’re taller, you can’t see around these SUVs," the Brooklyn pol said.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said last year daylighting would “not the right solution everywhere,” citing concerns that drivers could make faster more dangerous turns without the obstruction of a parked car.

Meanwhile, the DOT missed a May 1 deadline to publish a legally required daylighting safety study, per a Council bill enacted last year.

That bill also mandated the city daylight 100 intersections annually, which the Adams administration has vowed to exceed tenfold.

"DOT is adding daylighting to 1,000 intersections this year —10x more than required in this law—as we work to publish this study this year," DOT spokesman Vin Barone said.

The agency previously did a study in 2015 of left-turn crashes at 3,000 intersections with "natural daylighting" provided by just a fire hydrant at a corner, which yielded minimal safety improvements.

Daylighting can range from simply a no-parking sign or a hydrant, to paint or physical barriers in the street.

Advocates applauded the bill, saying it would light a fire under the city's feet to make intersections safer across the Five Boroughs.

"We don’t need a report to know that daylighting is a major upgrade. We’re much more concerned with this administration buckling down and fixing these illegal, dangerous, and frustrating intersections," said Sara Lind, Co-executive Director at Open Plans (which shares a parent company with Streetsblog). "Daylighting is proven and widely popular across the city; it’s time to just follow the law that mandates it and daylight every intersection in New York."

The civic push for daylighting began in western Queens in June 2023, when local Community Board 1 passed a symbolic resolution calling on the city implement widespread daylighting after two children where fatally struck by motorists at intersection, including 7-year-old Dolma Naadhun in Astoria.

Over the following year, 15 more boards in four of the five boroughs joined the chorus, issuing their letters of support for universal daylighting.

Last fall, an NYPD tow truck driver fatally struck Kamari Hughes, also 7, at an intersection in Fort Greene where cars blocked visibility. The horrific crash prompted Mayor Adams to promise daylighting 1,000 intersections a year and adding other safety upgrades to 1,000 crossings.

At the corner where Kamari was killed at N. Portland Avenue and Myrtle Avenue, DOT installed bike racks and boulders to daylight the turn, along with a raised crosswalk.

DOT declined to specify how many intersections have been daylighted this year, but Barone noted in an email with Streetsblog on June 24 that the agency's construction season is just getting started.

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