City’s Department of Environmental Protection Considers Loosening Rule on Vehicles Idling

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:

It is


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.)

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  • Arch Stanton

    1. The incident I described happened long before the “program” so your assumption is False.
    2. I wasn’t going to bet on it.
    3. I still don’t care.
    4. The reference was to 1984 When, the neighbors kid was wanted to report Winston for being a thought criminal. Maybe you haven’t read it!
    I read it 3 times! Animal Farm, twice (could make some references to that as well ). In JHS, I got the best grade in my class for my book report on Down and Out in Paris and London.
    So (loud raspberry) in your face!

  • CassieVonMontague

    Remember when our new school chancellor died of an asthma attack a year after moving to the city because the air quality was so bad?

  • Andrew Porter

    Actually, if you count the enormous grocery trucks and the film shoot diesels, there are usually several fume-spewing trucks here at any time.

  • Arch Stanton

    You may have a point on the film shoots. I say, ban them entirely.
    The grocery delivery trucks are exempt as they are refrigerated and need to keep running.

  • Andrew Porter

    Meanwhile, from The Guardian in the UK:

    “Just one in every 1,000 drivers reported for unnecessary idling of their engines were fined in central London, data has revealed.

    “Toxic air pollution kills about 4,000 people every year in the capital and councils have targeted parked drivers who do not turn off their vehicles.

    “In Westminster, more than 70,000 idling drivers have been reported since 2017 via the council’s “report it” website. But only 63 fines of £80 were issued and just half of these were paid.

    “Westminster council says it has the worst air pollution in the country and attracted attention in 2017 when it quadrupled the fine for idling from £20.”

  • Andrew Porter

    Article about this in today’s New York Times, “$87.50 for 3 Minutes: Inside the Hot Market for Videos of Idling Trucks”: