FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Council of the City of New York
Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22
October 17, 2018
Contact: Terence Cullen
Council Members Announce Legislative Package to End Stipulated Fine Program, Significantly Improve Safety for Pedestrians, Cyclists, and Drivers
New York City Hall — Council Members Costa Constantinides, Ydanis Rodriguez, Antonio Reynoso, Stephen Levin, and Chaim Deutsch today announced legislation to abolish the controversial Stipulated Fine Program, and hold delivery companies accountable for recklessly parking on crowded streets. The bill headlines a legislative package introduced Wednesday to promote fairness, make streets safer, and curtail historic traffic across the five boroughs.
“Massive delivery companies shouldn’t get a free pass — which many times they literally do — for illegally parking in front of fire hydrants, blocking bike lanes, or eating up handicapped spots,” said Council Member Constantinides. “With unprecedented traffic negatively impacting our air quality, it’s important we fight for fine equity, promote overnight deliveries, and protect our pedestrians. These bills provide common-sense solutions, reflecting a broad consensus amongst various stakeholders, to these urgent street issues.”
“By ending the Stipulated Fines Program, delivery trucks will have to follow the same traffic rules and consequences that all other drivers and cyclists abide by. The end of this Program will decrease traffic congestion and noise pollution, and the City will be able to recoup lost citation fees that can be applied to programs that better serve all City residents,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation.
“Companies and corporations should not be given special treatment, yet that is exactly what our City’s Stipulated Fine Program does,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “The Stipulated Fine Program perpetuates a dual enforcement structure, in which corporations who have the greatest impact on our City’s streets and have the greatest ability to pay fines levied against them are not held accountable, and everyday citizens are left to pay the bill. We are a City of laws and enabling illegal practices such as idling and the blockage of bike lanes in the name of commerce is simply unacceptable. I thank Council Member Constantinides for introducing legislation to put an end to the Stipulated Fine Program and look forward to continuing to advance our City’s environmental and Vision Zero goals.”
“We are long overdue for a more sensible and safer approach to our city’s streets,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “By moving these pieces of legislation forward, we are showing families and commuters that we value their lives more than netting bigger profits for delivery companies. These policies are all about working smarter to find a better way to live and work with one another. I want to thank Council Member Constantinides and my Council colleagues for their leadership and advocacy.”
“Granting discounts for infractions like dangerous double parking and bike lane blocking run counter to Vision Zero, so we’re pleased to see a growing movement to end the City’s stipulated fine program,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “Council Member Constantinides’ bill represents an important step toward making New York City’s streets safer for everyone who uses them, and we look forward to working with the City to re-think the curb in a way that discourages illegal parking and is more compatible with the 21st century economy.”
Constantinides, Rodriguez, Reynoso, and Deutsch announced the legislation on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, joined by Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives and Glen Bolofsky of Parkingticket.com.
The 13-year-old Stipulated Fine Program to help delivery-focused companies received reduced penalties in exchange for surrendering their right to contest a violation. Recent reports found a $115 double-parking fine can be knocked down to $0 on an offense outside of Midtown Manhattan. Advocates have also found delivery drivers abuse the system, blocking heavily trafficked bike lanes or entire streets.
Intro. 1141 would end this cost-of-doing-business program. City agencies wouldn’t be allowed to drop costs in exchange for waiving one’s right to challenge an offense. Instead, fines may only be reduced or dismissed on their merits, in writing, after an administrative judge holds a hearing.
The City would also set an example for off-hour or overnight deliveries under Intro. 1140, also co-sponsored by Council Members Constantinides and Levin. The bill, if passed, requires the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to plan for deliveries to arrive between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. at buildings under its jurisdiction. New York City has already tried this with some success at its Midtown Manhattan properties, taking bulky delivery trucks off the streets during busy points of the day.
Lastly, Council Members Constantinides, Levin, Daniel Dromm, and Paul Vallone co-sponsored Intro. 1142 to install leading pedestrian interval (LPI) signals at more than 400 intersections adjacent to schools, hospitals, senior centers, libraries, and parks. LPIs signal for pedestrians to begin walking several seconds before a traffic light changes, giving those traveling by foot more time before start moving.
Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and East Elmhurst. He serves as chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on four additional committees: Parks, Transportation, For-Hire Vehicles, and Land Use, as well as the sub-committee on Zoning and Franchises.