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NYC Council bill would let street vendors hawk in middle of sidewalks

Big Apple sidewalks could soon be “radically changed” under a “ridiculous” new City Council bill that would allow street vendors to block off everything from mailboxes to benches, critics post. told the paper.

of Bill by Rep. Carmen de la Rosa (D-Manhattan) would allow wheelbarrows to be installed two feet from the curb or six inches further from vehicle traffic than currently allowed.

But the bill would also allow hawkers to set up their barrows “as close as possible” to obstacles, meaning hawkers could set up shop in front of countless obstacles.


A rendering showing how public sidewalks in the Big Apple could be blocked by wheelbarrows under proposed law changes. Provided by HYHK

“Given the undefined term ‘obstruction,’ vendors can block bike racks, public benches, LinkNYC kiosks, news racks, newsstands, Citi Bike stations, parking meters, and mailboxes, rendering them all useless. ” said Dan Scouse. Vice President of Operations for Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance.

Scouse testified at a Jan. 31 hearing that the bill would “fundamentally change the way we operate our sidewalks,” and spoke to City Council members about what New Yorkers should expect if the bill becomes law. presented.

“[It] “Vendors will also be allowed to set up in front of street trees and in the middle of sidewalks,” he said. “Perhaps the most ridiculous thing is that [the bill]As written, it will allow a vendor to physically block another vendor. ”

Ryan Merola, deputy director of the city’s Department of Health, also expressed “concerns about the impact of this law.”

“The proposed expansion of the city’s curbside vending establishment regulations requires that accessible and passable sidewalks continue to be allowed, and the bill’s language calls into question the use of sidewalk space,” he testified. .


On the city sidewalks, vendors sit at tables holding jewelry and hats, and as pedestrians pass by them, some stop to look at their wares.
De la Rosa’s bill would allow street vendors to move to the center of the sidewalk if they were set up behind an “obstruction” such as a public bench, critics said. helaine sideman

Delarosa insisted he was not trying to make the sidewalk difficult to pass.

“It is not our intention to make pedestrian use more difficult, more difficult, less accessible, but to ensure that sellers have a clear understanding of where they can sell and how they can sell. That is our intention,” she said.

This bill is part of a larger, vendor-friendly City Council legislative package It aims to overhaul New York City’s street merchant industry.

The bill, by Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan), would overturn Mayor Eric Adams’ ban on peddling food, alcohol and souvenirs on the Big Apple’s bridges, and would allow them to operate under new restrictions. It includes a bill that would allow merchants to return.

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