Streetsblog reports that the NYC Department of Environmental Protection is considering amending its rule governing the idling of vehicles on city streets, which is a source of airborne pollution here in Brooklyn Heights as well as throughout the city. The proposed change, which is championed by Spectrum, would broaden the exemptions to the three minute idling rule, which now apply only to vehicles like cement mixers or refrigerated food trucks, to include “other auxiliary equipment other than a heater or air conditioner; or a system designed to control the environment of temperature-sensitive cargo or substances, including but not limited to food.” (Emphasis added.)
Opponents of the change argue that this language is broad enough to allow almost any exemption, including drivers who want to charge their laptops or keep their sushi chilled. Spectrum argues that its drivers need electronic equipment to perform their duties, and that such equipment needs to be “continually charged.” Opponents point out that Spectrum could, at reasonable expense, equip its trucks with batteries to keep the equipment charged.
On Sunday, Streetsblog published a strong argument against the proposed loosening of the idling rules by Dr. Patrick Schnell, a “board certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics” and a former Chief Resident in pediatrics at Long Island College Hospital (remember that?). He concludes his argument with:
time for the New York City DEP to live up to its name and to be an ambassador for New Yorkers, not for companies trying to maximize their short term profits by harming New Yorkers’ health and wellbeing. (Emphasis in original.)