An Open Letter to Mayor de Blasio from the Surface Transportation Advisory Council

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

Thank you for appointing us to your Surface Transportation Advisory Council. We have been honored to serve and share recommendations to help keep New Yorkers moving and ensure that our streets are a pathway for New York City’s recovery. We want to acknowledge and give appreciation to the hard work and dedication of DOT and TLC staff in creating a constructive platform to collect our ideas and feedback.

Since our first meeting on May 22nd, the challenges facing transportation have only increased — growing funding gaps for public transportation, a rise in fatalities and injuries from traffic violence, and ballooning car ownership.

While we acknowledge that the City has taken some steps to address these enormous challenges, we believe that more must be done immediately to avoid the impending wave of congestion, pollution, inequality, and traffic violence. Specifically, we believe that City Hall must accelerate and release a surface transportation plan.

Our council committed to working collaboratively on addressing the daunting challenges facing New York’s surface transportation system during COVID-19, including: expanding access to safe, equitable, and sustainable transportation alternatives; reducing automobile traffic, inequality, pollution, and traffic violence; protecting and preserving the affordability and functionality of vital transit systems; creating safe and complete streets accessible to New Yorkers in every neighborhood, and of all ages and abilities; addressing existing and historic inequities in transportation access and safety; building a connected and protected bike network; and ensuring that public safety measures support a transportation system that is truly safe for all New Yorkers.

In June, our council advanced a series of draft recommendations in support of a surface transportation plan, which we believe should be reviewed and advanced without additional delay. These recommendations (full list attached), developed over 18 meetings and in partnership with representatives in City Hall, reflect both proven and innovative solutions to support New Yorkers across all corners of our city.

To date, our council has received neither feedback nor next steps from City Hall on the status of our recommendations and the City’s surface transportation plan. Given the urgency of the issues you tasked us to help solve, we believe it necessary to elevate our recommendations to you directly, which include, but are not limited to:

Bus and Transit Coordination: The group agreed that more priority must be given on our streets to busways and bus lanes, including the need to implement at least 40 miles of emergency lanes this summer. Advocates are ready to work with the City to communicate the benefits of truck and transit busways and bus lanes, in particular by engaging new allies in community-based and social justice organizations. These organizations can, in turn, be supportive on-the-ground advocates and expand the field supporting better transit in NYC. Focusing on transit coordination as well, the group advised positive rather than punitive messages to encourage the importance of wearing masks on public transit and the need for the city to amplify the MTA’s messages around mask usage.

Pedestrians, Bikes and Public Realm: The group agreed that the City must advance an ambitious and rapid plan for New York City’s recovery by supporting a connected and protected network of bike and bus infrastructure, expanded sidewalks, and dedicated street and parking space to be repurposed in support of restaurants, retail, cultural institutions, and open space. The committee believes that the above improvements must prioritize communities of color, neighborhoods without adequate transportation and public space infrastructure, and streets most impacted by traffic crashes and pollution.

Taxis and For Hire Vehicles: The group agreed that one of the biggest threats to the sustainable and equitable recovery of New York City is the rise of personal vehicle ownership and use. New Yorkers who buy cars are less likely to shift to alternative modes of transportation to get around the city, adding to more traffic congestion, more tailpipe emissions, and more mobility inequality between those who can afford to buy a car and those who cannot. The taxi, livery, and for hire vehicle (FHV) industry developed a set of recommendations organized broadly around four categories: Ensuring Driver and Passenger Safety, Communication to Drivers and the Public, Congestion and Curb Management, and Trip Surcharges and Fees. Unfortunately, recent data on car sales and registration in NYC already show an alarming trendline. It is not enough to tell New Yorkers not to buy a car. We need the City to actively promote and restore public confidence in alternative modes of transportation, including taxis, for-hire vehicles, and pooled rides.

Traffic, Freight, and Curb Management: The group agreed that the City should develop and announce a contingency plan for vehicular restrictions into the Manhattan Central Business District (CBD) — should traffic congestion surge. The City must be ready to implement an HOV2+ restriction for travel into the Manhattan CBD during the morning peak period on weekdays if and when traffic warrants the change. We should also continue to work towards congestion pricing. Congestion pricing is even more vital now that more New Yorkers are opting for cars and the MTA is under increased financial strain. The congestion pricing plan should be crafted with the twin goals of congestion reduction and revenue generation. We need to aggressively reform and reduce placard parking and rethink the curb. Using curb space for the storage of personal vehicles is the least beneficial use of the curb. DOT should implement new regulations that allow for flexible use of the curb, whether for customer queuing, taxi and FHV pick-ups and drop-offs, and expand its off-hour delivery program; and rethink traffic and parking enforcement. DOT, rather than the NYPD, should be responsible for traffic, parking and placard enforcement. This would enable better coordination between pedestrian, bus, bicycle projects and enforcement and street level management.

Recovering from COVID-19 requires us to reimagine our city, especially our streets, for the better. Without your decisive and immediate action, we may lose New York City’s future to growing congestion, pollution, inequality, and traffic violence.

We believe deeply in this city and are hopeful for our future. And, we remain at the ready to support City Hall in advancing these recommendations and urge you to take action on them without delay.

Sincerely,

Quemuel Arroyo

Disability Transit Advocate

Jaqi Cohen

Campaign Director, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign

John Corlett, Director, Public and Government Affairs, AAA NYS

Danny Harris

Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives

David R. Jones

President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Service Society of New York

Ya-Ting Liu

Director of Policy, Via

Betsy Plum

Executive Director, Riders Alliance

Sam Schwartz

Nick Sifuentes

Executive Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Jennifer Tausig

Co-Chair, NYC BID Association

Courtney Williams

Chief Strategist, The Brown Bike Girl

Tom Wright

President and CEO, RPA

Attachment: Full List of Draft Recommendations shared by the Surface Transportation Advisory Council

Bus and Transit Coordination

  • Continue to implement bus priority treatments on an accelerated timeline. Every day the city waits to install bus lanes, it becomes harder to take that space from cars. NYC DOT, in coordination with the MTA, must move quickly to install emergency bus lanes using temporary materials. As many members of this subcommittee stated in an earlier letter to the Mayor, we believe the City should implement at least 40 miles of bus lanes this summer. As the city moves forward with this accelerated timeline, it must be mindful to provide ample notice and outreach to affected communities, especially the disability community.
  • Work with advocates to communicate benefits of truck and transit busways and bus lanes to the public. The advocacy community is here to help, and we want to work to enlist community-based organizations and social justice organizations in the campaign for better transit. We strongly support dedicating space for buses and communicating the importance of leaving those corridors free of other vehicles.
  • Emphasize the importance of wearing masks on public transit. The city should amplify the MTA’s messaging about wearing masks while traveling. There should not be punitive actions against those who do not wear masks and the messaging should make clear that there is an exception for those who are unable to wear masks due to a disability, but there should be clear communications that wearing a mask helps keep New Yorkers safe.
  • Reduce police enforcement of transit. The police should play a much smaller role enforcing policies and regulations on transit. There is often a more positive, less punitive way to make sure people are following the rules on transportation systems.

Placards:

  • Aggressively reform and reduce placard parking. The placard parking system is overdue for substantial reform, as it confers special privileges on a small number of New Yorkers with access to government, thereby undermining the public’s trust in the impartiality of government at every level. We must ensure that the city’s curb space is used as efficiently as possible during the reopening phases, which means we cannot have vehicles with placards parking in spaces that are dedicated for taxi and FHV pick-ups and drop-offs, freight deliveries, and other important uses. The city should reduce the number of placards, reduce the amount of curb space dedicated to placard parking, reduce the zones where vehicles with placards can park, and increase placard enforcement.

NYPD Traffic Enforcement:

  • Rethink traffic and parking enforcement. The STC recommends that NYC DOT take back responsibility from the NYPD for traffic, parking, and placard-related enforcement in New York City. This would enable better coordination between pedestrian, bus, and bicycle projects and the enforcement and street level management necessary to make those projects successful. Street safety measures like speed limits and narrower travel lanes, as well as equity tools like bus lanes, should be engineered into streets so that active enforcement is rarely necessary. To the extent that traffic and parking enforcement remain part of the streetscape, they should belong to NYC DOT to ensure seamless coordination between engineering and enforcement, as well as education and public messaging. The city should also build on its successful bus, speed, and red light camera enforcement programs to use camera technology to enforce curb, double-parking, and bike lane violations. In transitioning enforcement back to NYC DOT, the city should work to ensure that the same inequities we see today in policing do not continue into the future.

Pedestrians, Bikes and Public Realm

  • Prioritize walking, and biking and public transportation. For too long, our streets have prioritized car travel, devoting large swaths of space to personal vehicle storage. If the city wants more people to walk, and bike, and take public transit for their travel needs, it needs to devote more space, prioritize funding for, and exert the political will in support of these methods of travel. We recommend that NYC DOT move quickly to implement its Green Wave plan with, at least, pre-Covd19 funding levels, prioritize bike infrastructure on bridge crossings, specifically East River and Harlem River bridges, and progress implementation of needed sidewalk expansions in busy neighborhoods as well as the installation of sidewalks on overlooked roadways that currently lack them. It should also focus as much on creating neighborhood networks as improving the commute to the Manhattan CBD. DOT should also continue and expand public space programs like Weekend Walks.
  • Busways. We urge the city to find ways to quickly reach the requested 60 miles of busways. These new busways, built in partnership with the MTA, should model the success of 14th Street. Streets that already have heavily-used bus routes — Fordham Road in the Bronx, Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, Northern Boulevard in Queens, and 125th Street in Manhattan — should be the top priority among others.
  • Protected Bike Lanes. The expansion of the cycling network should prioritize key corridors, bridges, and gaps in the existing network. These may include, but are not limited to: hard hit, dense parts of the city like Bushwick, Brooklyn, and the central Bronx; major commercial corridors like 5th and 6th Avenue in Manhattan and Northern Boulevard, Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island and Queens Boulevard in Queens; East and Harlem River bridges; key connectors like Grand Concourse and Broadway in the Bronx; crosstown routes like 61st/62nd Streets, 72nd Street and the Central Park transverses in Manhattan; and South Brooklyn, which was a hotspot for cyclist crashes in 2019. Prior to the pandemic, 50 miles of protected bike lanes per year was considered ambitious — the city should take that commitment even further to truly support New Yorkers’ ability to get to work safely.
  • Bikeways / bicycle superhighways. The five cycling spines proposed by DOT have the potential to improve transportation equity, providing long-distance access pathways from across the city into Central Business Districts. To fulfill this vision, the STC recommends exploring streets that truly prioritize bicycle usage, in a manner similar to the 14th Street busway.
  • Bike Share. Along with a more robust bike lane network, we need to continue to expand bike share locations into the outer boroughs and dramatically increase the capacity of docks in CBDs and other high traffic areas across the city to support socially distant trips. Citi Bike stations see an average turnover rate of 27 bikes per parking space per day — demonstrating a highly effective means of getting New Yorkers to work.
  • Bike Parking. An effective bike network requires that NYC has adequate bike parking. The City must rapidly increase its installation of bike parking, bike corals, and secure bike facilities across the five boroughs, and additionally partner with businesses to support in-building bike parking.
  • Bike services. New and existing cyclists also require sites to service their bikes, to ensure that they have a reliable means of transportation. The city must increase publicly available bike pumps and sites for simple repairs.
  • Create a communications plan. The City of New York needs to have a robust communications plan for the public to inform New Yorkers about changes to the streets, educate about proper behavior and how to operate in/through these spaces, and inform why the changes are important. The City should also create an internal communications/coordination plan to ensure all City agencies and City Hall are aligned in regards to new policies and programs.
  • Develop a shared city-wide target (and related campaign) to (at least) double overall cycling usage. The City should have an ambitious target to get more New Yorkers to try a bike, and develop (with partners) education and empowerment sessions to ensure that New Yorkers understand cycling basics as well as their rights on city streets.
  • Allocate transportation-focused stimulus funding to efforts that prioritize walking, biking, and public transportation infrastructure. To ensure that these efforts are appropriately funded, the City should actively allocate a portion of transportation infrastructure stimulus funding from the CARES Act to the above initiatives.
  • Enforcement. The City should prioritize non-armed police enforcement of these transportation improvements to include, but not limited to: school crossing guards, TEAs, BIDs, community groups, neighborhood associations, and local businesses and NPOs. The City should also prioritize the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program to address the most chronically dangerous drivers, and quickly test and implement new forms of automated enforcement.
  • Deepen outreach and engagement with community organizations. NYC DOT should deepen engagement with community organizations, non-profits, and neighborhood leaders to get input on, and explain the agency’s projects and their benefits. These connections will help amplify outreach by empowering the organizations to share the benefits of NYC DOT safety projects with the broader community. In addition, the Street Ambassador program should be expanded, and the Ambassadors should do more deep-dive work in communities that responds to and builds upon the unique opportunities, needs, challenges, and assets within each is unique to each community or neighborhood.
  • Do not give Community Boards veto power over safety projects. Community Boards are not always representative of their constituents, merchants, or businesses. The city should limit their say over safety-related transportation projects.
  • Master Plan. The City should provide adequate resources and staffing and advance with the bold targets outlined in the Streets Master Plan legislation with an increased focus on equity and community participation.

Taxis and For Hire Vehicles

Ensuring Driver and Passenger Safety

  • Continue mask requirements for passengers and drivers (noting exemptions). The City should continue requiring mask use by drivers and passengers in all Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) licensed trips until public health guidance on mask wearing in public and businesses is phased out or reduced. Some passengers have disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks, and exceptions should be made to ensure these passengers are not refused service.
  • Distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to drivers. The City should provide PPE kits for drivers (masks, gloves, wipes) either once or on a determined ongoing basis, engaging outside partnerships for materials and distribution where feasible. The City would need to determine the best method of distribution to drivers, ensuring that the distribution method itself is not a COVID-19 transmission point.
  • Engage car washes as partners for deep cleaning of vehicles. The City should work with car wash businesses citywide (possibly in partnership with Small Business Services) to provide discounted or subsidized vehicle cleanings for TLC-licensed drivers and vehicle owners. This could be offered regularly for drivers in all five boroughs. This program could improve driver safety and morale, and make passengers feel more comfortable in a TLC-licensed vehicle. TLC should work with the City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to ensure that price gouging does not occur.
  • Allow temporary approved partitions in FHVs and work to expand list of approved installers. The City should continue to allow approved partition installation in FHVs, and should consider alternative brands, models, etc., at a variety of price points. TLC Safety and Emissions Division should continue evaluating the need for temporary partitions, and should investigate new brands and models that may benefit drivers and passengers. Some subcommittee members have noted that drivers may not be able to afford a partition in their vehicle. Others noted that a partition between the driver and front seat passenger would be preferred if feasible.
  • Implement shared ride passenger limits when executive order is lifted. Once the ban on shared rides is lifted, the City should set limits on the number of passengers allowed in a shared TLC- licensed vehicle, such as a two-passenger limit in a sedan and a three-passenger limit in a van or SUV. This would allow for physical distancing within TLC-licensed vehicles, and could continue until public health guidance no longer requires physical distance in public spaces. Permitting shared rides, with these constraints, may provide more affordable options to passengers, thereby increasing trip volumes and driver income while reducing the congestion caused by single-occupancy vehicles.
  • Provide guidance on open windows for air flow and no recirculated air. The City should offer continued guidance requiring open windows in TLC-licensed vehicles, particularly when passengers are in the vehicle. The City should also potentially prohibit recirculated air (e.g., air conditioning) in such trips. While requiring open windows would be largely feasible (with the exception of intense rainy weather), prohibiting air conditioning during the summer may be less feasible and may result in conflict between drivers and passengers.
  • Work with Port Authority to ensure airport facilities are safe and clean. The City should work with the Port Authority to ensure that LGA and JFK airport facilities are safe and clean for driver and passenger use. These spaces include driver hold lots and staging areas, as well as passenger waiting areas and queues. The Port Authority should provide for physically distanced pick-up and drop-off procedures, hand sanitizer and access to cleaning materials for vehicles, and possibly even PPE and COVID testing for drivers and passengers. The Port Authority should also mandate PPE usage for its staff, and ensure that staff working closely with drivers and passengers are trained on safety precautions, as well as ways to work in a distanced fashion.
  • Advocate for Access-a-Ride e-hail pilot expansion. The City should advocate for expansion of the MTA’s Access-a-Ride E-Hail Pilot, which currently benefits passengers with disabilities as well as TLC-licensed drivers. The current pilot serves 1,200 passengers, who are able to take trips in TLC-licensed vehicles at any time, citywide, for $2.75. Drivers are paid full fares directly by the MTA. The City should work with passengers, advocates, and the MTA to encourage expansion of this program. The City should also work with federal regulators to reduce barriers to entry for new drivers to provide these trips.
  • Temporary restriction on front seat passengers. The City should temporarily restrict passengers from using the front seat in all TLC-licensed vehicles during trips. This regulation would promote physical distancing in TLC-licensed vehicles and could make both passengers and drivers feel safer.

Communication to Drivers and the Public

  • Create PSA discouraging personal car use and promoting transportation alternatives. The City’s messaging during reopening should clearly and strongly discourage personal car use. This effort should be led by the Mayor and reinforced during press conferences to ensure public awareness. The City should produce a public service announcement, featuring TLC-licensed drivers as ambassadors, in line with this message that advocates against using personal vehicles due to potential congestion and instead promotes the use of alternatives including TLC-licensed vehicles, buses, the subway, bikes, scooters, and walking.
  • Market Taxi/FHV to the public as safe ride option. The City should actively promote trips in all TLC-licensed sectors in the reopening period with the goal of boosting public confidence in the safety of these trips. One idea for framing is to highlight the role of drivers as heroes and essential workers.
  • Provide outreach and training for TLC licensees on new safety and cleaning protocols. The City should develop accessible outreach and training materials outlining COVID-related guidance to drivers and vehicle owners, consistent with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and CDC recommendations. This information would include steps for cleaning vehicles, mask requirements and related exemptions for persons with disabilities who cannot use masks, and other temporary policy changes to keep drivers and passengers safe.
  • Update outreach and training for drivers on sharing the road safely. The City should update street safety messaging and training to remind licensees to share the road safely with the increased number of bicyclists and any new street changes, such as changes to curbs, temporary bike lanes, and open streets.
  • Inform drivers of COVID testing availability. The City should provide information directly to drivers on the availability of COVID testing and antibody testing, including locations throughout the city, updating drivers to new resources as they become available.

Congestion and Curb Management

  • Solicit input from TLC industry when developing citywide congestion mitigation strategies. When considering congestion mitigation strategies, the City should ensure that the impact on TLC-regulated industries is adequately considered and that relevant stakeholders are consulted. If the City pursues HOV restrictions at river crossings or in the CBD, licensed TLC vehicles should be exempt from such restrictions. Congestion mitigation strategies should: (1) be based on best available data, (2) include performance metrics to evaluate and tailor the strategies as the City’s reopening evolves, and (3) clearly state how long they will be in place either through a specified time period or through metrics that will trigger policy changes.
  • Evaluate feasibility of park-and-ride program. The City should evaluate the feasibility of a park- and-ride program with unused outer borough parking lots. These unused lots could serve as a taxi and FHV pick-up and drop-off area and a connection to public transit options to give people alternatives to driving their personal cars into more congested areas of the city, including the CBD. Potential locations could include Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.
  • Evaluate viability of allowing Taxis and FHVs to use bus lanes. Given the changes in traffic congestion due to the COVID health crisis and anticipated congestion on our streets, the City should newly evaluate the viability of allowing taxis and FHVs to travel in bus lanes when transporting passengers and the potential for such a policy to be an effective tool for congestion mitigation. The evaluation should consider making the allowance only for certain TLC-regulated industries, making the allowance in only certain bus lanes or certain geographic areas, or both, and could be structured as a short-term pilot program.
  • Advocate for full implementation of congestion pricing. The City should advocate the State and Federal governments for full implementation of congestion pricing as soon as possible. Congestion pricing is an essential tool to discourage personal vehicle use in the CBD and should be implemented promptly to avoid a sharp increase in congestion as the City reopens. Particularly from the perspective of TLC businesses, drivers, and passengers, it is unfair that surcharges have been imposed on taxi and FHV trips while the promised fees on personal vehicles may not be implemented on schedule.
  • Expand multi-use loading zones. The City should expand loading zones that have multiple uses, including truck loading and unloading, short-term parking for personal vehicles, and taxi and FHV pick-up and drop-off. This expansion should begin immediately in order to avoid a rise in personal car use as the city reopens.
  • Implement pick-up and drop-off zones (PUDOZ) for taxis and FHVs. PUDOZ should be implemented based on where and when the demand for Taxis and FHVs justifies them. Examples from other cities include zones for use on weekend evenings where there is significant nightlife presence and during rush hours in the CBD.
  • Evaluate existing taxi and FHV stands. The City should evaluate existing taxi and FHV stands to determine any necessary adjustments and additional enforcement needs. The evaluation should include whether appropriate enforcement or signage could make the stands more efficient, whether certain stands should be dedicated to all sectors or just certain sectors, and whether certain stands should be repurposed to allow pick-ups and drop-offs.
  • Advocate for the use of tax-free commuter benefits for taxis and FHVs. The City should advocate for the availability to use funds in tax-free commuter benefit programs, such as TransitChek, for all Taxi and FHV trips to address COVID-related pressures on public transit.
  • Develop standardized data exchanges across modes in New York City. In order to manage congestion, gain a true sense of movement patterns among all modes, and better organize city streets, the City should facilitate a continuous exchange of data between the taxi and FHV industry and other surface transportation modes, including freight, buses and micromobility.

Trip Surcharges and Fees

  • Advocate for temporary pause or redistribution of congestion surcharge to benefit drivers. The congestion surcharge on taxi and FHV trips in the Manhattan CBD is still in effect despite the COVID health crisis and the reduction in congestion and trips in these industries. In addition, congestion pricing on personal vehicle trips has not yet been implemented. In discussions with the State, the City should advocate to temporarily pause or reallocate the congestion surcharge on taxi and FHV trips to a fund to benefit drivers.
  • Advocate for change in taxi and FHV congestion surcharge borders. The City should advocate for the State to move the northern geographic border for the congestion zone from 96th Street in Manhattan to 60th Street to make it consistent with the congestion pricing zone for personal vehicles.
  • Advocate for delay, cancellation, or redistribution of the Port Authority airport fee. In discussions with the Port Authority, the City should advocate for a temporary or indefinite delay of implementation of the planned airport fee assessed on taxi and FHV trips. One alternative to delaying the fee is to advocate for redistributing it to a fund to benefit drivers.
  • Advocate for standardizing fees for all trips for people with disabilities. Currently, people with disabilities face a patchwork of fees and exemptions for the trips they take via public transit and for-hire transportation. The City should advocate for the State to modify congestion pricing surcharges so that all trips provided to passengers with disabilities via all of these modes traditional Access-a-Ride, the Access-a-Ride e-hail pilot in taxis, Citywide Accessible Dispatch in Taxis, and trips dispatched by FHV central dispatchers — are exempt from congestion surcharge.

Traffic, Freight, and Curb Management

  • Develop and announce a contingency plan for vehicular restrictions into the Manhattan CBD should traffic congestion surge. The city must be ready to implement an HOV2+ restriction for travel into the Manhattan CBD during the morning peak period on weekdays. Although the restriction might not be immediately necessary, the city should message its intention to impose a restriction and be ready to implement it if and when traffic warrants the change. The restriction should not apply to vehicles carrying persons with disabilities, buses, and commercial vehicles. Some council members felt all taxis and FHVs should also be exempt, while others preferred extending the exemption to yellow taxis only. No other exemptions should be provided, including for municipal workers.
  • Continue to work towards congestion pricing. Congestion pricing is even more vital now that more New Yorkers are opting for cars and the MTA is under increased financial strain. The HOV restrictions should remain in place until the MTA and the City of New York successfully implement congestion pricing in Manhattan. The congestion pricing plan should be crafted with the twin goals of congestion reduction and revenue generation.
  • Create a communications plan to explain traffic management strategies. For traffic management strategies to successfully alter behavior, New Yorkers need to understand how the restrictions will work. The City should develop a comprehensive communications plan for all drivers. This should include messaging that encourages the public to telecommute or change work shifts, if possible, as a way to reduce peak period travel. Also, the public should be told that if they are going to drive into the Manhattan CBD, they need to arrange for off-street parking in advance.
  • Aggressively reform and reduce placard parking. The placard parking system is overdue for substantial reform. We must ensure that the city’s curb space is used as efficiently as possible during the reopening phases, which means we cannot have vehicles with placards parking in spaces that are dedicated for taxi and FHV pick-ups and drop-offs, freight deliveries, and other important uses. The city should reduce the number of placards, reduce the amount of curb space dedicated to placard parking, reduce the zones where vehicles with placards can park, and increase placard enforcement.
  • Rethink the curb. New York City needs to acknowledge that using curb space for the storage of personal vehicles is the least beneficial use of the curb. NYC DOT should implement new regulations that allow for flexible use of the curb, whether for customer queuing, taxi and FHV pick-ups and drop-offs, or freight deliveries. The agency should also encourage and expand its off-hour delivery program. Where possible, the city should test and incorporate technology that allows for more efficient use of the curb, such as reservation systems for commercial deliveries.
  • Rethink traffic and parking enforcement. The STC recommends that NYC DOT, rather than the NYPD, be responsible for traffic, parking, and placard-related enforcement in New York City. This would enable better coordination between pedestrian, bus, and bicycle projects and the enforcement and street level management necessary to make those projects successful. The city should also build on its successful bus, speed, and red light camera enforcement programs, to use camera technology to enforce curb, double-parking, and bike lane violations. In transitioning enforcement to NYC DOT, the city should work to ensure that the same inequities we see today in policing do not continue into the future.

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