January 7th, 2009
New York City has one of the highest volumes of pedestrians in the world, and despite generous-width sidewalks in some parts of the city, sidewalks become crowded and the quality of the pedestrian experience is hurt.
New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT), under its new Commissioner, Jeanette Sadik-Khan, has launched an ambitious plan to remake New York City’s public realm. DOT’s new, multi-facted streets initiative will consist of the following elements: public plaza programs; Broadway boulevard projects; complete street projects and design standards; safe streets for seniors and student; public art programs; coordinated street furniture; and weekend pedestrian and cycling streets. All the these areas are of interest to MAS, but we are primarily concerned about pedestrian/sidewalk issues. Continue Reading>>
November 15th, 2007
The Municipal Art Society Streetscapes Committee today announced the winner of its OUTRAGE! Nasty Newsracks photo contest, held during the summer and early fall. The winning photograph (at right – click to enlarge) is by Laura Dodd and depicts several newsracks near a bus-stop on the southeast corner of 4th Avenue and 9th Street. The photo was judged to be the winner because it shows multiple violations of the City’s ordinances regulating newsracks: the newsracks are less than 15 feet away from a fire hydrant and all within a bus-stop zone; the bus is forced to discharge passengers outside of the bus-stop to avoid depositing them amid the racks; the newsracks are also dirty and unkempt, with one being used as a trash receptacle, and the glass door of another having been smashed in.
Ms. Dodd received a $100 gift certificate to the Urban Center Books store at 457 Madison Avenue as first prize.
Violations of the city’s ordinances regulating newracks
have been of concern to several BIDs, civic groups and neighborhood associations, which formed the NYC Newsrack Committee in order to find out why current laws are not working and how they can be improved and tightened.
View the ten finalist photos of the OUTRAGE! photo contest
November 12th, 2007
The Municipal Art Society of New York announced the top ten finalists in the “OUTRAGE!!! Nasty Newsrack Photo Competition” today in advance of the selection of the winner scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at the next Newsrack Committee meeting.
MAS launched the “OUTRAGE! Nasty Newsrack Photo Competition” to highlight the rampant legal violations of the City’s ordinance regulating newsracks in New York City, and received more than 200 submissions. The winner will receive a $100 dollar gift certificate to the Urban Center Bookstore at 457 Madison Avenue as first prize.
Photo entries that illustrate flagrant and widespread violations of the current NYC newsrack law include a photo that reveals an empty, dirty newsrack chained to a pole less than three feet away from a fire hydrant. Another photo shows six newsracks (one of which with broken plexiglass that is being used as a trash can) in a bus stop zone less than 15 feet from a fire hydrant. The bus in the photo is forced to discharge its passengers outside of the bus stop zone to avoid depositing them amidst the racks. All 10 finalists are attached.
The NYC Newsrack Committee, a coalition of civic organizations and BIDs, is focused on a discussion of why the current laws regulating newsracks are not working and what can be done to improve them. A survey conducted by several BIDs in the Committee (full list below) counted hundreds of violations. The Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership BID counted eighty-five violations in October, 2007 alone.
The Committee is exploring new newsrack policies and designs that have been successful in other cities, such as Houston, Dallas and San Diego. Unlike New York, these cities limit the number of newsracks at any given corner, have strict criteria regulating their design, and allow only steel boxes; plastic boxes are prohibited.
The Committee has called on the NYC Department of Transportation to enforce the current laws and urged the City Council to enact more effective legislation.
NYC Newsrack Committee Members include:
The Municipal Art Society, 34th Street Partnership, Alliance for Downtown NY, Association of Residential Boards, Brooklyn Heights Association, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, CIVITAS, Columbus Avenue BID, East 60th Neighborhood Association, East 86th Street Merchants & Residents Association, East 60’s Neighborhood Association, Fashion Center BID, Grand Central Partnership, LANDMARK WEST!, Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, New Yorkers for Parks, Times Square Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, Union Square Partnership (list in formation)
BIDs that were surveyed include: 34th Street Partnership, Lower East Side BID, Metrotech BID (survey conducted done by 34SP), East 86th St. (survey conducted done by 34SP), Flatiron BID, Kingsbridge BID (Bronx), Grand St. BID (Bklyn), Downtown Alliance, Sunset Park BID (Bklyn), Columbus Avenue BID, Sunset Park BID, Fashion Center BID, 5th Avenue BID, Times Square Alliance.
October 11th, 2007
The NYC Newsrack Committee is a coalition of civic organizations and BIDs concerned about the lack of enforcement of the newsrack regulations. Since the current law regulating newsracks on our public sidewalks is not being enforced, the Committee is calling for the City Council to hold an oversight hearing so that it can be determined how this law can be strengthened.
Please join us for the NYC Newsrack Committee’s first open meeting:
November 13th at 12:00 p.m.
Martin E. Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue.
Everyone is invited to come. The winner of the Municipal Art Society’s “Nasty Newsrack Competition” will be announced at this time.
The NYC Newsrack Committee consists of: 34th Street Partnership
Alliance for Downtown NY
Brooklyn Heights Association
Carnegie Hill Neighbors
Columbus Ave. BID
East 86th Street Merchants & Residents Association
Fashion Center BID
Grand Central Partnership
Municipal Art Society
Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
New Yorkers for Parks
Times Square Alliance
Union Square Partnership