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Mayor de Blasio Announces Lower East Side Late-Night Quality of Life Improvement Plan

October 22, 2019

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a multi-agency plan to improve the quality of life of thousands of New Yorkers living in one of the city’s densest nightlife districts. The plan, created by the Office of Nightlife, targets a 6-block area on Ludlow and Orchard Streets between Houston and Delancey on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Improvements will reduce traffic and pedestrian congestion on the street and make garbage sweeping routes more efficient. Nightlife patrons will also see a new etiquette campaign encouraging them to be more respectful and aware of their surroundings.

“The world loves New York nightlife, but we also have to take care of the New Yorkers who live where others play,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We are creating cleaner, quieter streets to improve quality of life while ensuring bars, restaurants and clubs can thrive.”

“Nightlife is vital to New York City’s local culture and global identity,” said Ariel Palitz, Senior Executive Director for the Office of Nightlife. “The Lower East Side is one of the city’s most vibrant and social neighborhoods. This plan coordinates City services to support our thriving nightlife and respond to the needs of the residential community, to ensure that nightlife is fair and works for everyone.”

“We are proud to partner with our colleagues in city government and the local community to develop and implement collaborative solutions to quality of life concerns surrounding nightlife on the Lower East Side,” said Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo. “Nightlife establishments are a fundamental part of the city’s DNA; they employ almost 300,000 New Yorkers. Through these collaborative efforts, MOME can ensure that the city’s creative and cultural industries like nightlife can thrive in ways that are mutually beneficial for all.”  

The area of Ludlow and Orchard Streets between Houston and Delancey contains more than 80 food and beverage establishments. For years, residents and businesses have complained of late-night horn honking and loud voices as traffic stops due to double-parked cars dropping off and collecting passengers on the area’s narrow streets. Moreover, litter builds up overnight under parked cars and on sidewalks, which is unsightly, unsanitary, and attracts rats.

The Lower East Side Late-Night Quality of Life Improvement Plan was designed with the support and input of residents, business owners, workers, and local officials to  make their neighborhood more livable. The plan includes:

New parking regulations to ease traffic congestion and reduce noise

  • DOT is implementing a “No Standing” rule from midnight to 6 AM on the west side of the streets and 7 PM to 7 AM on the east side of streets, seven days a week
  • Removing standing vehicles overnight eases congestion, honking and other noise

New litter removal schedule coordinated with bar closing times for more efficient cleaning and additional street cleaning

  • To more efficiently clean neighborhood streets, DSNY street sweepers will now operate between 3 and 6 AM
  • The prior schedule from midnight to 3 AM was less efficient, as many businesses were still open and patrons were still out
  • The Business Improvement District (BID), the Lower East Side Partnership, will provide 200 hours of street cleaning services a week, seven days a week
  • Council Member Chin allocated $30,000 expense funding to LESP for cleaning Ludlow St, which is outside the  BID boundaries
  • Council Member Chin has also allocated $40,000 in capital funds to LES Partnership to purchase a power washer truck

Increased enforcement of for-hire vehicles

  • TLC will increase enforcement patrols to crack down on unlicensed for-hire vehicles double parking and making unauthorized pickups
  • A 10-person team of TLC officers and supervisors will conduct random patrols between 11pm and 3am at least once every Friday and Saturday night

Mayor’s Office of Nightlife “Night Owl” etiquette campaign urging patrons to be more considerate 

  • Awareness Campaign will urge patrons to use common-sense nightlife consideration including keeping sound to a minimum and keeping sidewalks clean and clear. The PSA will be displayed on LinkNYC kiosks in the area
  • The Office of Nightlife and NYPD will distribute signs to bars and clubs with tips for theft prevention

"The Quality of Life Improvement Plan addresses the noise, public safety, and trash issues associated with the Lower East Side's thriving nightlife scene," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "I want to commend the neighborhood businesses, nightlife patrons, and residents who have created a pilot that is rooted in mutual understanding and compromise, and we're excited to see the results.”

“Enjoying New York City’s nightlife shouldn’t come at the expense of the well-being of New Yorkers who call these neighborhoods home,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. “This multi-agency initiative will ensure the Lower East Side is safer, cleaner, less congested, and more enjoyable for all those who visit while continuing to support the bars and restaurants in the area.”

“Shifting the street sweeping start time in this area will allow our Department to more efficiently clean neighborhood streets,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “We are happy to partner with other city agencies, the Office of Nightlife, the Community Board and the Lower East Side Partnership to help bring quality-of-life improvements to the area. Business are still open at midnight, and patrons are still out and about. Shifting our schedule still allows us to clean the streets, while providing the best service to businesses, visitors and residents.”

“No one needs to sacrifice safety to enjoy NYC’s nightlife,” said Acting TLC Commissioner Bill Heinzen.  “Most importantly, we strongly encourage people on the town to take licensed taxicabs or book for-hire vehicles through an app or base if they choose that mode of transit.  Applying vigilant enforcement to complement our efforts to reduce the effects of congestion will make the nightlife experience a safer one by targeting illegal and potentially dangerous operators and protecting club patrons who may find themselves confronted by these unlicensed profiteers.”

“Residents, small business owners and community leaders have been fighting for relief from the quality of life impacts of nightlife on the Lower East Side,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “While I am proud to do my part by allocating discretionary funding to organizations like ACE and the Lower East Side Partnership to enhance clean-up efforts every year, we need a clear plan that pushes businesses to be good neighbors and makes sure that all residents feel respected. I am glad to see the Administration is joining our efforts through this multi-agency plan, and I look forward to working with our community leaders to make sure this plan is a success.”

“When I wrote the legislation to create this office, one of its main focuses was to study how to support nightlife with community involvement,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “We should find a balance that respects both residents trying to maintain their quality of life and people that come to the neighborhood to have a good time. I commend Nightlife Director Ariel Palitz on this innovative and community-based initiative, which can be a model that’s replicated in similar communities.”

"Community Board 3 is always proud to partner with the LES Partnership and City agencies to improve the quality of life of our community," said Alysha Lewis-Coleman, Chair, Manhattan CB3. "This initiative will directly address many longstanding issues in the community—horn honking, traffic congestion, garbage. We particularly look forward to the etiquette campaign to address the noise complaints of residents. CB 3 looks forward to a continuing effort of collaboration that will improve quality of life for residents as well as the vitality of our small businesses."

“I am very pleased to hear the Mayor and his office are making a formal effort  to address some of the nightlife congestion in the Lower East side. I believe the most impact will be felt by eliminating parking, and having more room to pull over can only have a positive impact at alleviating congestion. I look forward to seeing and participating in any efforts to help the cause,” said Darin Rubell, Owner of Pretty Ricky’s, LES.

“A robust nightlife is an essential component of the Lower East Side’s local economy and an important source of jobs for our community,” said Tim Laughlin, President of the Lower East Side Partnership. “We look forward to working collaboratively with partners in city government to leverage resources and appropriately mitigate quality of life concerns associated with an active nightlife sector; we are thankful to the administration for their focus on these issues and willingness to implement creative solutions that address our unique set of on the ground conditions.”

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