StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on Hard Infrastructure

Earlier this week, we testified at the New York City Council Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure's oversight hearing on hard infrastructure, outlining our support for legislation that would require the Adams administration to develop a project plan and timetable for the installation of public restrooms across the city. Our full testimony follows below.

Int. 1077-2023 – Support

As with its predecessor, Int. 0258-A, which became Local Law 114 of 2022, we support passage of Int. 1077.

Local Law 114 requires the city to produce, by the end of this year, a report identifying the number of operational public bathrooms across the city, and more importantly, to identify at least one location in each zip code area where it would be feasible and appropriate to install a public restroom. Int. 1077 takes the next step by requiring the administration to develop a report that proposes a project plan and timetable for the development and installation of these facilities.

As we stated in our testimony in support of Int. 0258-A, New York City lags well behind most peer cities in providing ready access to clean, safe public restrooms, and as access to bathrooms is an equity, public health, and sanitation issue, it’s inexcusable that we haven’t done at least what other major cities have in providing such facilities.

Int. 1077 builds on this effort by requiring development of a project scope and identification of estimated costs, possible funding sources, and appropriate maintenance schedules for such facilities. Public restrooms are important infrastructure, and we urge swift passage of this bill.

Int. 0905-2023

While the intent of Int. 0905 is laudable, we think that it may be overly prescriptive. Ensuring that street resurfacing projects are completed in a timely manner is important, but the bill’s two-week timeframe seems too short, given the types of infrastructure issues that can crop up once a street has been milled, and we believe the more important issue with street work is ensuring to the greatest extent possible that newly paved streets aren’t shortly torn up again, a situation that may be exacerbated by a shortened completion window. We also believe the notification requirement is potentially burdensome.

However, an area in the resurfacing process in which we’d like to see significant improvement is in the speed of remarking streets once new asphalt has been laid down. While there may be a curing period, far too often it takes weeks, if not months, for streets to be restriped, and the failure to quickly redraw crosswalks, bike lanes, and even parking markings can create dangerous situations for pedestrians and cyclists. If anything, we’d prefer to see legislation requiring the expediting of remarking.

Int. 0596-2022

As with Int. 0905, we believe that while the legislation proposed by Int. 0596 is well intentioned, we’re not convinced that it’s necessary. We’re fairly certain that NYC DOT’s resurfacing team already coordinates with their sidewalks team when they encounter problems with curbs while milling and paving. Hazardous curb situations may not be fixed simultaneously with the street work, since materials are different, but are likely being addressed subsequent to the resurfacing work.

If we’re not correct about the current situation, we would certainly welcome an effort to ensure that curbs are repaired or replaced, given the safety implications, and would support the bill, but our understanding is that Int. 0596 would legislate something that’s already happening.

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published this page in News 2023-09-28 15:00:52 -0400
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