The Council also voted on legislation to expand eligible documentation for IDNYC to support access for those returning from justice system and residing in emergency shelters
City Hall, NY – Today, the New York City Council voted to require the Department of Transportation to promote equity in infrastructure investment as part of its Streets Plan. The City’s street infrastructure investments have historically disfavored outer-borough communities, low-income communities, and communities of color. Today’s vote will require DOT to identify underserved neighborhoods with a high need of additional infrastructure based on existing infrastructure and safety needs, and to describe future investments in these neighborhoods so they are no longer underserved.
The Council also voted to require the DOT to report on motor vehicles with license plates that are unreadable by red light cameras or school speed cameras. These so called “ghost plates” have been a persistent barrier towards achieving street safety, as they make it difficult to identify and subsequently reprimand dangerous drivers. These two bills mark milestones in investing in transportation equity and creating accountability for street safety across our city.
The Council also voted on legislation that will expand the accepted forms of eligible documentation for IDNYC to support access for those returning from the justice system and residing in emergency shelters. Applicants for IDNYC would be able to provide specific documents issued by federal immigration authorities, electronic verification through the Department of Correction, and a released offender identification card issued by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Renewal. This expansion of eligible documentation will mitigate obstacles that currently stand in the way of receiving identification and thus benefiting from various city services and institutions.
“All New Yorkers deserve to live in communities with safe streets and robust infrastructure that support their success,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The Council is proud to enact legislation to promote equitable investments in under-resourced neighborhoods and advance efforts to hold users of “ghost plates” accountable. While these are vital steps, we know there is more work ahead to produce safer outcomes for all New Yorkers. I thank my colleagues for their leadership in passing today’s important legislation.”
Investing in Transportation Equity and Creating Accountability for Street Safety
Introduction 1164-A, sponsored by Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, would require the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) to promote equity in infrastructure investment as part of its master plan and include an investment roadmap as part of each plan. The investment roadmap would require DOT to identify underserved neighborhoods with a high need of additional infrastructure based on existing infrastructure and safety needs, and to describe future investments in these neighborhoods so they are no longer underserved. DOT would report, for each neighborhood: the level of investment in safety-enhancing street infrastructure, and other types of street infrastructure, made in the past 15 years, the incidence rate of collisions that result in significant injuries, the demographics of the neighborhood, whether the neighborhood is considered underserved, and if the neighborhood has received low investment but is not considered underserved, the factors that DOT considered in reaching that conclusion.
“So many communities – outer borough communities, low-income communities, and communities of color – have not received their fair share of the City’s street infrastructure investments,” said Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Introduction 1164 will create an “investment roadmap” within the City’s Streets Plan law to help ensure DOT is making equitable infrastructure investments throughout the city. It is crucial that the City regularly take stock of this legacy and work to address it. This legislation will require DOT to identify underserved neighborhoods with a need for additional infrastructure – and to set out the future investments in these neighborhoods necessary to ensure they are no longer underserved. This Council will continue to work to make more equitable, life-saving investments in our street safety infrastructure.”
Introduction 712-A, sponsored by Council Member Erik Bottcher, would require the DOT to report on motor vehicles with license plates that are unreadable by red light cameras or school speed cameras, with an unreadable license plate being defined as a license plate that a photo-violation monitoring system does not read because the camera malfunctioned, the license plate’s number was concealed or obscured, the license plate produced a distorted recorded or photographic image, or if no license plate was affixed to the motor vehicle. This bill would also require DOT to post the report on its website and submit those reports to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council each quarter. The report would include information on the days and times of day when the license plates could not be read, the community districts where they could not be read, and the reason the license plate could not be read. Currently, there are no reports or data of drivers that have evaded red light or speed cameras. Establishing this reporting protocol is a necessary step towards enforcement of dangerous vehicles and improved street safety.
“Drivers using obscured or defaced license plates clearly make for more chaotic and dangerous streets,” said Council Member Erik Bottcher. “With the data made public with our bill, the City and advocates will be able to better understand the effect on different communities so that resources may be allocated to combat this chronic illegal act. I want to thank Speaker Adrienne Adams and my colleagues in the Council for their support of this bill and look forward to working together to ensure better safety and accountability on our streets.”
Studying the Potential of a Bus Transit Center in Flushing
Introduction 1026-A, sponsored by Council Member Sandra Ung, would require the Mayor to appoint an agency or office to prepare a report on potential locations for the construction of a bus transit center in Flushing, Queens to enable passengers to embark and disembark from buses without impeding the surrounding streets or sidewalks. The report would also estimate projected costs associated with the construction of such a bus transit center as well as expected benefits to the local area. The administering agency would be required to submit the report to the Mayor, the Council, and post it on its website. A bus transit center in Flushing would have a significant impact on the neighborhood and surrounding areas. This report is a necessary first step towards achieving that goal.
“Flushing is not just a bustling transit hub for northeast Queens residents, it is the busiest bus-to-train transfer location in the mass transit system, making it a crucial connection point for our city,” said Council Member Sandra Ung. “But the current situation in Flushing, with out-of-service buses parked on city streets, creates crippling congestion and potential public safety hazards. The need for a bus transit center in Flushing has been acknowledged since the idea was first proposed in the 1960’s by the late Assemblyman and State Senator Leonard Stavisky, but it never materialized. Today, I am proud to pass legislation that will finally set in motion a process to make this common-sense idea a reality.”
Expanding Eligible Documentation for IDNYC
Introduction 790-B, sponsored by Council Member Gale Brewer, would ease the process of applying for an IDNYC card by adding documentation and verifications to the list of acceptable documents for proof of identity. The IDNYC program was launched in 2015 to respond to those communities and individuals who were unable to get identification so they can take advantage of services and institutions in the city. Under the new legislation, applicants for IDNYC would be able to provide specific documents issued by federal immigration authorities, electronic verification through the Department of Correction, and a released offender identification card issued by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. This bill would also amend the list of documents accepted for proof of residency to include written verification from emergency housing deemed appropriate by the agency. This is intended to enshrine the agency’s acceptance of residency documents received from HERRC and respite center providers that can be verified.
“Under the current law, HRA may accept any other documentation they deem acceptable for proof of identity or residency. The problem is that the decision to deem a document acceptable falls on individual HRA employees who process applications,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “I have heard from workers at HERRCs and migrant shelters in my district that it’s luck of the draw. Sometimes documents issued by federal immigration authorities are accepted as proof of identity, other times they are not. And sometimes letters from HERRCs are accepted as proof of residency, but not always.”
Reporting on Drowning Deaths
Introduction 1119-A, sponsored by Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to report annually on drowning deaths that occur in the city. The report would include the location and facility type at which the drowning death occurred, the manner in which the drowning death occurred, the age group and gender identity of the decedent, the race and ethnicity of the decedent, whether the decedent had a physical, medical, mental, or psychological impairment; and whether alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication was a contributing factor. According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death among one-to-four-year-olds nationwide and the rate is nearly double children of color.
“I am proud to sponsor two bills today to advance equity – in our city’s waters and on its streets,” said Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Introduction 1119 seeks to address a public health issue affecting every community in the City: drownings. Drowning is the number one killer of young children nationwide, and data from the CDC shows that children of color are especially vulnerable to drowning. This legislation will require DOHMH to report annually and publicly on drownings in the City, which will empower policymakers and advocates to develop more effective programs and policies to address drownings. This Council will continue to work to ensure every New Yorker is empowered to swim safely in the city’s waters.”
Requiring New York City’s Trauma-Informed Care to Reflect the Experiences of Migrants
Introduction 1084-A, sponsored by Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to include information on refugee, asylum seeker and migrant experiences to improve its trauma-informed care training that it offers to providers. Many migrants who have come to New York City seeking asylum often have left their home countries in fear for their lives or after suffering through humanitarian conditions. On their journeys trekking through thousands of miles of dangerous terrain, many have faced physical and mental harm exacerbating previous issues.
“As a registered nurse and Council Member, I’m delighted about the passage of Int. No. 1084,” said Council Member Mercedes Narcisse. This bill ensures that those serving refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants are equipped to provide compassionate, trauma-informed care. It’s a big step toward a more inclusive and empathetic New York City, where everyone can heal and thrive.”
Making on Green Roof Information Publicly Available
Introduction 102-A, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, would require the Department of Environmental Protection to publish the location of every green roof in the city on the green infrastructure program map, or another map on the department’s website, using the best information available to it. The map would also include some information about each green roof, including the type of building, the area of the roof and the area covered by the green roof system, the capacity of the green roof to absorb water and the function or functions of the green roof. This consolidated data on green roofs will help to inform and create a greener, climate resilient city.
“Climate change is no longer an abstract reality; it and its effects are here,” said Council Member Justin Brannan. “We have seen historic rainfall come to our city in recent years, and we should expect these storms to keep coming. Our city’s infrastructure was designed for a bygone ‘normal,’ and we need to act quickly but carefully to catch up to the new one. Gathering and analyzing data on green roofs will help us understand where and how well they are working and help us make better decisions as we plan for NYC’s resiliency future.”
Calling for Passage of the Employee Privacy Act
Resolution 459-A, sponsored by Council Member Amanda Farias, calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, A.568/S.1802 prohibiting municipalities from requiring all employers to check prospective employees’ work authorization status by using the federal electronic verification system and prohibiting employers from checking the employment authorization status of an existing employee or an applicant who has not been offered employment.
“Each and everyday people come to New York City in pursuit of a better life for themselves and the next generation of their family,” said Council Member Amanda Farias. “Finding good and stable work is an essential part of that journey, and currently, the federal electronic verification system is impeding that process for thousands. Without the ability to move forward with needed work authorizations, asylum seekers are forced to look for work in unregulated economies that leaves them vulnerable to coercion, wage theft, and undermines our local businesses and revenue.
“This Resolution calls on the State to prohibit employers from using the federal electronic verification system to check the employment authorization status of existing employees or applicants not offered employment,” added Council Member Farias. “It is essential that all levels of government are working together to support the needs of our newest arrivals and the economic health of our City. This is what the City Council is focused on and I hope our Governor, Federal and State colleagues will too. Thank you to the State sponsors on this bill Assemblymember Kenny Burgos and State Senator Jessica Ramos for your partnership on this issue.”
Recognizing November as Veteran Appreciation Month
Resolution 581, sponsored by Council Member Eric Dinowitz, calls upon the City to recognize November as Veteran Appreciation Month in New York City.
“Whatever your perspective may be of the United States’ military or its past involvements, one cannot overlook the pure bravery of those who sacrificed their lives to protect American citizens, our values, and our interests,” said Council Member Eric Dinowitz. “It is with our veterans’ sacrifices, as well as those of their loved ones, that I am proud to advocate for the passage of Res. No. 0581.”
Calling for Expanding DOE Career-Connected Learning Programs
Resolution 422, sponsored by Council Member Vickie Paladino, calls upon the New York City Department of Education to expand career-connected learning programs and opportunities at all public high schools.
“I’m proud to say Resolution 422 calling on the Department of Education to institute vocational learning at all New York City Public Schools has been passed in the New York City Council,” said Council Member Vickie Paladino. “Career-connected training, or vocational education as it used to be called, empowers students to achieve more than they may have thought possible, outside the traditional academic path. This resolution will push the DOE to provide students not only with the option, but with the necessary training to go that route. Thank you to my colleagues in Council for recognizing the importance of this and coming together to approve a common sense resolution which will lay the foundation for positive change in our education system.”
Calling for Increased Accountability to the Needs of NYCHA Tenants
Resolution 68, sponsored by Council Member Ari Kagan, calling upon the New York State Legislature and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development to take strong action and increase NYCHA accountability by auditing the responsiveness of NYCHA managers to tenants. In the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2023 Management Report, it took an average of 65 days for NYCHA to respond to non-emergency service requests, up 33 percent from the previous year. As recently as September, NYCHA had nearly 600,000 open work orders.
“For many years, public housing residents have complained about mold, roaches and mice infestation, lack of heat and hot water, non-working elevators, broken mailboxes and other serious quality of life issues,” said Council Member Ari Kagan. “Often their concerns were ignored and disregarded. NYCHA Accountability Act will ask NYS legislature and federal HUD to audit NYCHA property managers responsiveness to tenants’ concerns. More than 500,000 NYCHA residents deserve attention and respect. I am grateful to Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, my Legislative Director Ather Tirmizi and all my Council colleagues for supporting this important legislation.”
Resolution 807, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, concerning an amendment to the district plan of the Westchester Square business improvement district that provides for a change in the method of assessment upon which the district charge is based, and setting the date, time and place for the public hearing of the local law authorizing such change.
Resolution 808, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, concerning the increase in the annual expenditure for four business improvement districts and the setting of the date, time and place for the hearing of the local law increasing the annual expenditure for such districts.
Livonia4 Technical Correction – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development requests a technical amendment to Council Resolution 433 for the year 2022, related to the Urban Development Action Area and Project (UDAA and UDAAP) approval pursuant to Section 694 of the General Municipal Law, and the disposition of city-owned property, for the Livonia4 Development. The amendment will clarify the 17 lots subject to the UDAA & UDAAP approvals, disposition approval, and one additional lot, in Council Member Charles Barron’s district.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of Fire Alarm Telegraph Bureau, Bronx Central Office – the Italian Renaissance Revival-style was designed by Brooklyn architect Frank J. Helmle in 1913, and construction completed in 1915. The Fire Alarm Telegraph Bureau, Bronx Central Office is one of four dedicated borough offices constructed in the early 20th century after the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) decentralized its fire alarm telegraph operations, in Council Member Oswald Feliz’s district.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of Firehouse, Engine Company 88/Ladder Company 38 – the firm Herts & Tallant designed the firehouse in the early 1900s, and construction was completed in 1908. Highly intact to its original design and construction, the building is unique both among firehouses for its Prairie style influence, and among the work of Herts & Tallant, as the lone example of firehouse design by the firm. Engine Company 88 and Ladder Company 38 have served the Bronx for 115 years, including through the epidemic of arson that overtook portions of the Bronx in the 1960s and 1970s, and have played an important role in protecting the neighborhood, in Council Member Oswald Feliz’s district.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of Bronx Opera House – was built as a theater and restaurant between 1912 and 1913, by the Bronx 149th Street Realty Company, led by George M. Cohan, and was designed by architect George Keister. The building served as an entertainment center for more than six decades, featuring Broadway acts and other performances. After World War II, the Bronx’s Latin music scene flourished, and at the end of the 1950s, the Bronx Opera House became home to a series of nightclubs including the Club Caravana, the Bronx Casino, and El Cerromar. For several decades the Bronx Opera continued to serve the growing Latino/a community of the South Bronx with dances and concerts and was an important place of social gathering and expression of Latin culture, in Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala’s district.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of 935 St. Nicholas Avenue Building is a neo-Gothic Revival-style brick, limestone and terra-cotta apartment building designed by Gronenberg & Leuchtag and built in 1915. The intact and architecturally significant early 20th century apartment building is culturally significant as home to Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (from 1939 to 1961) and Noble Lee Sissle (from 1950 to 1972), two pioneers of jazz music who were among the most prolific composers, musicians, and bandleaders in American history, in Council Member Sean Abreu’s district.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of Hotel Cecil and Minton’s Playhouse Building – This five-story, grayish buff brick structure was designed in the Renaissance Revival style by Julius F. Munckwicz and built in 1895-96. It operated as a residential hotel and offered furnished apartment suites for long and short-term stays. This Harlem nightclub is recognized in many jazz histories as the “birthplace” or “cradle” of bebop, in the 1940s. During the Harlem Renaissance, the owners were slow to welcome Black guests, but Hotel Cecil eventually was listed in consecutive editions of The Negro Motorist Green Book and many Black jazz musicians who performed at Minton’s Playhouse also stayed at the hotel. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, the building was converted to supportive housing for homeless men and women in 1988. It is currently owned by the Harlem Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, in Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan’s district.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie Residence – was built in 1922, as a single-family residence designed in the Colonial Revival style, with simple facades of patterned red brick and cast-stone keystones and cartouches, the building was converted to a three-family residence in c. 1940. The legendary jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader, John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (1917-1993) purchased the building in 1953 and lived there until 1965. He and his wife Lorraine (1920-2004) continued to own the building until 1985, in Council MemberFrancisco Moya’s district.
Rules, Privileges and Elections
The Council also voted to approve the appointments of:
- John Heesemann, New York City Tax Commission;
- Bennett Minko, New York City Tax Commission;
- Gary Bristol, New York City Tax Commission;
- Lisa Breuer Urban, Environmental Control Board
- Orlando Marin, City Planning Commission