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Street "excavation", "opening", and "cut" are often used interchangeably. Street Opening Permits are required for such excavation work.
The NYC Street Works Manual marks the beginning of new policies governing work on city streets, and clearly presents procedures for notice, approval and execution of such work. These new policies and the Manual's presentation of permit procedures are designed to deliver higher quality street surfaces, fewer transportation capacity reductions and a more efficient construction environment to the people and businesses of New York City.
There are nearly 6,000 miles of streets in New York City. City streets facilitate the movement of pedestrians, transit riders, motorists and cyclists as well as the delivery of goods and services throughout the city. Under the surface, the same streets support the city's water, sewer, power and telecommunications infrastructure, as well as its subway tunnels and building vaults. The streets themselves also serve as public spaces, fostering social, economic and recreational activities.
Management of New York City's street infrastructure is critical to the city's economic well-being and quality of life. The Street Works Manual is a new tool intended to increase the performance of both city government and the private sector in this regard. Its overall goals are both far-reaching and vital: sustaining the city's investment in its streets, enhancing access to subsurface infrastructure and minimizing transportation and community disruptions.
To this end, the Street Works Manual is intended as a resource for all parties that perform work in New York City streets, from utilities and contractors installing, replacing and repairing underground infrastructure to developers replacing roadways and sidewalks adjacent to building sites and homeowners performing their own sidewalk repairs.
New York City has developed and implemented the following policy changes in the course of evaluating the process of street cuts and developing the Street Works Manual:
A recently executed agreement between NYC DOT and major utility companies provides for the monthly sharing of data regarding all active NYC DOT street excavation permits, NYC DOT’s list of "protected streets" (recently repaved or reconstructed streets that have strict restoration requirements if disturbed), NYC DOT’s roadway resurfacing schedule, short-term utility excavation needs and long-term utility project schedules.
The agreement brings together the most important stakeholders to collaborate to improve NYC street conditions. By leveraging information sharing technologies to identify convergent needs and schedules, all parties have the ability to undertake street-related work concurrently or in a closely-scheduled sequence, rather than excavating and surfacing streets in an uncoordinated manner.
NYC DOT and the city's Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) are collaborating to greatly increase the number of maps available to the public online. The public can view the city's map portal with any of the most common Internet/web browsers. No special mapping software is needed. The anytime-anywhere availability of this information will facilitate coordination between all parties undertaking work on city streets. This will result in fewer street excavations and better street conditions.
New York City has begun posting maps providing information about its capital projects across the full range of city agencies via the online NYCityMap (explained below). You can reach it online at http://gis.nyc.gov/doitt/nycitymap
NYCityMap already features layers for the city's Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and NYC DOT's 10-year capital projects plan, as well as NYC DOT's "Protected Streets" – these are streets that have been resurfaced or reconstructed within the past five years and therefore require substantially higher permit fees for street excavation work. They also require more expansive restoration if disturbed. Additional information on using NYCityMap is presented in Chapter 2.
NYC DOT has its own portal, DOTMap, within NYCityMap. You can reach it directly at http://www.nyc.gov/dotmap. It contains a large number of NYC DOT-related maps. NYC DOT has been working to display much of our data in contemporary GIS formats. This increases transparency and, for the purposes of this Manual, fosters additional coordination between NYC DOT and other parties performing work on city streets. NYC DOT anticipates adding scheduled street resurfacing work to DOTMap during 2011.
NYC DOT and the NYC Environmental Control Board recently increased monetary penalties for four street work-related violations. Fines for opening a non-protected street without a permit were nearly doubled to $1,500, by this action. Fines were also increased by nearly 29% for opening a Protected Street without a permit. Fines for closing streets to traffic without permits were increased by 50%. The penalty for restoring the street surface on a Protected Street without notifying NYC DOT inspectors was increased three-fold, to $750.
Fines for improper usage of emergency permits, such as declaring an emergency when none exists, are also under review to determine whether changes are warranted.
Taken together, these actions will reduce the incidence of street work undertaken without permits, provide a stronger incentive for collaboration and coordination between city government and private sector stakeholders that engage in work on city streets and better facilitate public mobility and safety.
NYC DOT has been enhancing its permit and inspection procedures. 50% of agency permits are now issued electronically, with most permits issued within 1-2 days of application. DOT continues to move toward the goal of permit applications submitted anytime-anywhere online. This capability will also include the printing of permits anytime-anywhere using any printer. Registered applicants will no longer need to go in person to any office to obtain the majority of DOT construction-related permits. DOT will also enhance the tools its inspectors use to review street work for compliance with permit stipulations. By the end of 2011, all inspectors will use tablet computers to verify permit details, record the inspection, and issue appropriate corrective action requests.
The organization of the Street Works Manual generally follows the chronological process of planning and undertaking work in the street.
Chapter 2 describes processes and tools to enhance advance planning and coordination of street work between NYC DOT's own capital resurfacing and reconstruction programs and the street infrastructure work of other stakeholders, especially those that perform a large number of street excavations. One tool highlighted in this chapter is DOTMap, a new data sharing initiative that will allow for better coordination of planned street reconstruction and resurfacing activities with other street excavation work.
Chapter 3 describes different types of construction-related permits issued by NYC DOT and outlines the application processes for each permit type. It also provides cross-references to useful online forms and tools.
Chapter 4 describes the processes for executing work in the streets, after permits and approvals are obtained, and the enforcement actions NYC DOT may take to safeguard city streets.
In Chapters 3 and 4, the symbol is used to indicate particularly time-sensitive requirements of the processes described.
Appendices to the Street Works Manual provide additional resources, including a list of common permit types and the supporting documentation required for each permit type, reference copies of applications and required forms, contact information for NYC DOT and other agencies and utilities, a list of the stipulations placed on permits under certain conditions and/or at certain locations, and useful internet links by chapter of the Manual.
"[NYC DOT] will coordinate street and subsurface infrastructure work by city agencies, building projects and utility companies to minimize street closures and poor street surface quality and ensure that NYC DOT resources are put towards more systematic infrastructure projects."
Sustainable Streets, Strategic Plan for the New York City Department of Transportation (2008)
The guidance presented in the Street Works Manual does not supersede any existing federal, state or city laws, rules and regulations. For complete NYC DOT requirements regarding the performance of work in the street, please consult the Highway Rules and NYC DOT specifications
The Glossary and definitions found in this Manual provide a brief explanation of NYC DOT terminology. Any definitions found in existing federal, state or city laws, rules and regulations take precedence as the official and legal definitions.
NYC DOT disclaims any liability for omissions or errors that may be contained herein.