Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Newsracks Legislation


LANDMARK WEST! volunteer, Howard Stevens, CIVITAS, the Municipal Art Society and others are crafting legislation for City Council to address the growing problem of the numerous, ill-maintained news and advertising racks that litter most of our city sidewalks. Through Howard's advocacy, Community Board 7 passed a strong resolution (see below) at their April 4 meeting supporting more effective regulation. Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco are among the many cities that are already successfully reining in this problem. Now is the time for New York to assert itself as a world-class city with a world-class quality of life. As the current law (passed in 2002 and amended in 2004) is proving inadequate against the unsightly and dangerous conditions created by the newsracks, more effective legislation is needed.

Councilmember Gale Brewer has agreed to sponsor legislation on newsracks.
Show your support by filling out and mailing or faxing the attached letter to Brewer, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Transportation Committee Chairperson John Liu and your district councilmember (see below for all contact information). You can also copy the text into an email. Be sure to include your own mailing address in the body of the email.

Hon. Christine C. Quinn
224 West 30th Street, Suite 1206
New York, New York 10001
Phone: (212) 564-7757
Fax: (212)564-7347

Hon. John C. Liu
Transportation Committee Chairperson
135-27 38th Avenue, Suite 388
Flushing, New York 11354
Phone: (718) 888-8747
Fax: (718) 888-0331

Hon. Gale Brewer (District 6)
563 Columbus Avenue
New York, New York 10024
Phone: (212) 873-0282
District: (212) 873-0279

Hon. Inez Dickens (District 9)
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
163 W. 125 Street
New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 788-7397
Fax: (212) 442-2732

Hon. Melissa Mark Viverito (District 8)
105 East 116th Street
New York, NY 10029
Phone: (212) 828-9800
No fax number available.

For other councilmember contact information, see


Whereas the proliferation of newsracks has created cluttered, dangerous, unsanitary and unsightly conditions on the streets of New York City; and

Whereas, the owners of the various publications distributed by the newsracks have largely failed to maintain their newsracks according to applicable regulations; and

Whereas, the Department of Transportation has not effectively enforced newsrack regulations because of deficiencies in the current law and lack of personnel; and

Whereas, use of the 311 system for complaints about unlawfully placed or improperly maintained newsracks has not been produced meaningful results; and

Whereas, other cities have enacted legislation limiting the number of newsracks on each corner, mandating size, appearance, maintenance and other requirements and have imposed fair licensing fees to fund enforcement activities;

Community Board No. 7, Manhattan, requests that:

1. The City Council study newsrack legislation in other municipalities and enact a newsrack law which will curb the current abuses and unsafe conditions on our sidewalks.

2. The Department of Transportation devote sufficient administrative and personnel resources to satisfactorily enforce the newsrack regulations.

3. The Office of the Mayor take necessary action to encourage and enable the Department of Transportation to more promptly and effectively respond to 311 newsracks complaints.