The New York City Department of Transportation has released a “Request for Expressions of Interest” for vendors interested in developing an automated enforcement program for the city’s bike lanes, according to a report by StreetsBlog, whose report suggests the request shows the city’s interest in a “crack down on scofflaw drivers who illegally park and stop in the bike lane.”
There are still questions about whether New York City would be able to take such enforcement actions without approval from the state government, however. Jon Orcutt of cyclist advocacy group Bike New York told StreetsBlog, “There’s no legal authority to do this enforcement. They need another set of cameras, need to go to Albany.” While city authorities were empowered to operate speed cameras in 2013, they are still not allowed to operate speed cameras 24 hours a day, 7 nights a week, and they do not currently have enough speed cameras “to enforce the city’s 700 miles of bike lanes.” Orcutt speculated the city would need a total of 5,000 speed cameras to do so.
Transit safety group Transportation Alternatives told StreetsBlog that the prospects may not be all bad, because the city has its own power “to enforce failure to yield, blocking the box, occupying a bike lane or the like,” and they can do so without the need for new, state-authorized cameras. Another potentially available mechanism to deal with illegal parking and stopping in bike lanes is “citizen enforcement.” If lawmakers pass a bill proposed by Brooklyn Councilman Steve Levin, then anyone who sees illegally parked cars would be able to report them to the city and receive monetary compensation for doing so. The bill was introduced in November 202, receiving criticism from Mayor de Blasio’s administration, which “worried people would physically assault their neighbors for calling them out for illegal parking.”