According to Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch, New York’s street sweepers could benefit from having cameras installed to catch car owners who disregard the city’s alternate-side parking rules. This measure would ensure that individuals who violate the regulations receive tickets for their actions.
During a Citizens Budget Commission event on Tuesday, Tisch highlighted that the sanitation department’s street sweepers have the capacity to eliminate up to 1,500 pounds of road waste per day. However, due to the increasing number of cars blocking their paths, these sweepers are unable to perform their duties to the best of their abilities.
According to Tisch, there is a need to amend the state vehicle traffic law to incorporate the use of cameras for traffic enforcement and fines. She believes that street sweepers should be permitted to be equipped with cameras that can automatically issue tickets to drivers who violate alternate-side parking rules. This would help improve the effectiveness of traffic regulations and ensure that drivers abide by the parking rules.
Similar to the cameras installed on MTA buses to capture drivers who block bus lanes, the proposed cameras would serve the same purpose.
Tisch is urging the Albany to pass a legislation that would grant the Department of Sanitation the power to install automatic ticketing systems on street sweepers, similar to what the MTA has done. The main goal is to ensure that vehicles move for alternate-side parking. This move is deemed necessary to improve the overall effectiveness of street sweeping and parking enforcement. Tisch believes that this is a crucial step in creating a cleaner and more efficient city.
As of now, there are no proposals in Albany to permit the use of cameras on street sweepers, and both the Senate and Assembly are not set to convene until January. A state bill was presented in 2011 to authorize the use of street sweeper cameras, but it has remained inactive in committee since then.
Since its introduction in 1950, New Yorkers have developed various strategies to avoid getting alternate-side parking tickets. These include intricate double-parking maneuvers and patiently waiting in their cars for hours, just to avoid traffic agents and take advantage of the open parking spots after the street sweepers have cleared their block. Some have even perfected their own unique techniques to make sure they never get ticketed.
According to Andrew Walker, the owner of a shuttle service that operates a spacious Sprinter van, he has received numerous tickets around the city for not adhering to alternate-side parking regulations. He expressed concern that the newly installed cameras would be stricter in enforcing the policy.
Walker expressed his hope that those caught by the cameras would be given a chance to move out of the way if someone is waiting in their car. Despite this concern, he believes that automated ticketing could be a valuable tool to encourage drivers to abide by traffic laws.
“He added that he eagerly anticipates the alternate-side parking rule, as it provides him with the opportunity to secure a parking spot. Sometimes, he needs a break from waiting in his car all day, and this rule gives him a chance to do so.”
According to a different driver, the current street sweeping system needs to undergo a reform to effectively clean around parked vehicles. This approach would prioritize spending on cleaning measures rather than investing in cameras and issuing more tickets.
According to James Pettigrew, who resides in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, the street cleaning process could use some improvement beyond the use of a large truck. Pettigrew reports having to relocate his car four times per week.
According to Syed Rahim, the president of CWA Local 1182, the union that represents NYPD traffic enforcement agents, his members have the ability to use their discretion in a manner that cameras are unable to replicate.
According to Rahim, if a traffic agent spots a driver seated in front of the driver’s seat, they would politely ask them to move or risk receiving a ticket.
Last year, Councilmember Robert Holden sponsored a bill to establish a camera program. The program’s implementation is subject to state approval and will involve sanitation staff reviewing all photographic footage.
Holden recognized that certain drivers may be hesitant about the idea of automated ticketing. However, he proposed that the city could develop an app that would enable individuals to track the street sweepers’ whereabouts through GPS locators, instead of spending valuable time searching for an available parking space.
Holden suggested that an efficient solution to the parking problem would be an app that notifies drivers when it is safe to park their cars after the street sweeper has passed. He emphasized that this app has the potential to benefit a significant number of people struggling with the hassle of moving their cars.
He added that their objective is not to penalize people, but rather to achieve cleaner streets.