April 15, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Queens Council Member Robert Holden introduced a series of bills Thursday aimed at improving the quality of life for New York City residents.
The bills aim to combat everything from noise pollution to sidewalk obstructions—to the unauthorized towing of vehicles. The legislation would also require film crews to provide more notice when they plan to occupy public streets.
Holden introduced 16 bills in total and said that many of the bills address unruly behavior that has contributed to rising crime. Crime is up 40.5 percent citywide for the year through April 10, compared to the same period a year ago, according to NYPD data.
“With the trend of legalizing or ignoring, and thereby normalizing behaviors that diminish our city’s quality of life… it’s time to take measures to bring balance to living in New York City,” Holden said in a statement.
Holden introduced legislation designed to combat disorderly motorists blasting out deafening music from their vehicles.
One of his bills would increase the civil penalties for motorists who blast an unreasonable amount of noise from their vehicle via a personal audio device. The new penalties would range from $200 to $2,100, depending on the number of violations committed within the preceding two years.
Another bill would target raucous motorists who attach speakers to the exterior of a vehicle. Violators would be hit with a civil penalty of between $100 and $225 for a first offense increasing to as much as $575 for a third violation.
Holden has also introduced legislation that targets business owners who pump out loud music from a commercial establishment. He has a bill that would reduce the acceptable level of noise.
Holden, whose district covers Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood and parts of Woodhaven and Woodside, said that noise pollution is a serious concern among his constituents and his bills aim to clamp down on the problem.
“We know that unreasonable noise late at night is not only a nuisance but a threat to New Yorkers’ health,” Holden said. “All New Yorkers are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their homes.”
Holden’s other bills take aim at film crews operating on public streets. The crews, he said, often disrupt small businesses by taking valuable parking spaces.
One such bill would require media companies that plan to take on-street parking to give better notice, requiring them to apply for permits more than 14 days in advance.
Another bill would create an online database and interactive map informing the public about upcoming media activities in public spaces.
Holden also introduced bills that would suspend bus lane enforcement on holidays and require the Sanitation Commissioner to issue a report on sidewalk obstructions.
Additionally, Holden introduced a bill that would streamline the online 311 compliant process to make it easier for the public. Another bill would add a new complaint function to the 311 website where residents can report trucks illegally towing vehicles.
“These bills can be just a small start at making New York City more livable again,” Holden said.
Some of these bills are long overdue. Of course, the key will be enforcement, as the noise ordinances already on the books (along with other quality-of-life statutes) are rarely, if ever, enforced. 311 used to refer calls about excessive noise to the DEP (also, violations of the idling law) and that agency took calls only during business hours! Did not compute.