Mayor Announces Lower East Side Late Night Quality of Life Improvement Plan

Photos by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office.

Photos by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office.

Mayor de Blasio and his minions yesterday came to Max Fish, the Orchard Street bar, to talk up his new “late night quality of life improvement plan.”

The plan, from the New York City Office of Nightlife, is focused on a six-block area between Ludlow and Orchard streets, between East Houston Street and Delancey Street. It’s intended to reduce traffic and pedestrian congestion and to persuade rowdy late night boozers to be more respectful of people who live on the Lower East Side.

The mayor said, “The world loves New York nightlife, but we also have to take care of the New Yorkers who live where others play. We are creating cleaner, quieter streets to improve quality of life while ensuring bars, restaurants and clubs can thrive.”

Ariel Palitz, the city’s nightlife czar (and a former LES bar owner), said, “Nightlife is vital to New York City’s local culture and global identity. The Lower East Side is one of the city’s most vibrant and social neighborhoods. This plan coordinates City services to support our thriving nightlife and respond to the needs of the residential community, to ensure that nightlife is fair and works for everyone.”

City Council member Margaret Chin said, “Residents, small business owners and community leaders have been fighting for relief from the quality of life impacts of nightlife on the Lower East Side. While I am proud to do my part by allocating discretionary funding to organizations like ACE and the Lower East Side Partnership to enhance clean-up efforts every year, we need a clear plan that pushes businesses to be good neighbors and makes sure that all residents feel respected. I am glad to see the Administration is joining our efforts through this multi-agency plan, and I look forward to working with our community leaders to make sure this plan is a success.”

In a press release, the Mayor’s Office noted that the small area being targeted for improvements includes more than 80 drinking and dining businesses:

For years, residents and businesses have complained of late-night horn honking and loud voices as traffic stops due to double-parked cars dropping off and collecting passengers on the area’s narrow streets. Moreover, litter builds up overnight under parked cars and on sidewalks, which is unsightly, unsanitary, and attracts rats. The Lower East Side Late-Night Quality of Life Improvement Plan was designed with the support and input of residents, business owners, workers, and local officials to  make their neighborhood more livable.

Here are some of the specific steps being taken by various city agencies:

–The Department of Transportation is implementing a “No Standing” rule from midnight to 6 a.m. on the west side of the streets and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the east side of streets, seven days a week.

–Standing vehicle areas will be removed overnight to ease congestion, honking and other noise.

–Department of Sanitation street sweepers will operate between the hours of 3 and 6 a.m. (they have traditionally gone off the clock at 3 a.m. when many revelers are still out on the streets).

–The Lower East Side Partnership will provide 200 hours of street cleaning services a week, Monday-Sunday. Council member Chin allocated $30,000 expense funding to Partnership for cleaning Ludlow Street, which is outside the boundaries of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District.  Chin has also allocated $40,000 in capital funds to the Partnership to purchase a power washer truck.

–The Taxi and Limousine Commission will increase enforcement patrols to crack down on unlicensed for-hire vehicles double parking and making unauthorized pickups.  A 10-person team of TLC officers and supervisors will conduct random patrols between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m at least once on Friday and Saturday nights.

–The Office of Nightlife will launch an awareness campaign to urge bar goers to use “common-sense nightlife consideration including keeping sound to a minimum and keeping sidewalks clean and clear.” A Public Service Announcement will be displayed on LinkNYC kiosks in the area.

–The Office of Nightlife and NYPD will distribute signs to bars and clubs with tips for theft prevention.

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Angry Words Dominate CB3 Meeting on Bar Policies

CB3's David McWater was at the center of this week's contentious meeting.

if there’s one thing you can say about members of Community Board 3, they’re passionate about the Lower East Side. So its not very surprising when, from time to time, discussions about various issues become a little heated. But earlier this week, a meeting to finish hashing out new policies for evaluating liquor licenses became unusually contentious. The back and forth among board members turned highly personal, tense and ugly — before the proposals were finally approved, unanimously.

For the past several months, CB3 has been trying to figure out how to address a perception that the recommendations of the “SLA Committee” are often inconsistent and arbitrary — and that marathon meetings frequently stretching well past midnight are counter-productive and overly burdensome on everyone involved.