You could be a environmental hero for hire.
Queens Councilman Donovan Richards and Manhattan Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal have a bill that would create a program to recruit and train everyday New Yorkers to record and report illegally idling vehicles—and reap the revenues of the resulting tickets. The pair pointed out that the city issued just 209 tickets for private automobiles left standing for more than three minutes on the street or one minute in front of a school, despite their offices being inundated with complaints about exhaust.
“We know if you walked around City Hall for a day probably you could issue a thousand,” said Mr. Richards. “We’re here today because obviously the city has not done enough.”
The bill would obligate the Department of Environmental Protection to hold at least five yearly training seminars that would instruct citizens on how to record offending cars, trucks and buses in the act—with their license plates in the frame—and upload the video onto a yet-to-be-created website. If a judge then determines that a penalty is in order, the person who submitted the video will receive half the value of the ticket.
Ms. Rosenthal said that her director of constituent services struggles to get city agencies, which fall under the control of the mayor’s office, to respond to complaints from residents of her district about tour buses sitting on the street with their diesel engines running.
“He spends hundreds of hours on the phone tracking down DEP, responding to constituent complaints about idling on the Upper West Side,” she said.
City, MTA and emergency vehicles are all exempt from idling laws, and it would be DEP’s responsibility to handle the workings of the program.
The council members emphasized that their aim is not to drive up ticketing, but to drive down the quantity of particulate matter in city air, which has been linked to high rates of asthma and strokes.
“The big issue here is not fining people. The big issue is that people, especially our seniors and our children are being adversely affected,” Mr. Donovan said, adding that low-income and minority communities like his own often deal with the most pollution.
However, they said their was an economic component to the proposal.
“It’s great, because we’ll be creating jobs too,” Mr. Richards said, noting that tickets can run from $200 to $1,500 depending on how many infractions the motorist has on their record.