NYC Council passes key legislation to boost parking garage safety, led by Queens Council Member Brooks-Powers

parking garage
The City Council passed a package of bills aimed at parking garage safety.
Courtesy of Getty

NYC Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers (D-31) sponsored legislation aimed at enhancing safety in parking garages. As part of a package of bills, the New York City Council passed Intr. No. 135, on Thursday, May 23, which Brooks-Powers championed.

Intr. No. 135 mandates a comprehensive study to evaluate the structural integrity of parking garages. The study, conducted by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), will assess various factors affecting the load-bearing capacity of these structures.

The factors include the age of building materials, exposure to the environment, maintenance history, and structural design, as well as an array of other assessments. Upon completion of the study, the DOB would be required to submit a report to the mayor, and the city council speaker. Additionally, the report would be made available to the public within one year of the city council bill’s effective date. 

The bill’s passage is in response to the Ann Street Parking garage collapse in 2023. On April 18, 2023, a parking garage building partially collapsed in Manhattan’s Financial District, resulting in one death, five injuries and the evacuation of a neighboring building.  

Brooks-Powers, who serves as the chair of the committee on transportation and infrastructure, said that parking garages are essential to the city’s infrastructure and the safety of the structures must be assessed for any potential public safety concerns.

“This legislation underscores our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers by enabling the Council to examine a more comprehensive overview of parking infrastructure, leading to more informed recommendations to enhance the structural integrity of these facilities,” said Brooks-Powers. “By proactively assessing and addressing structural concerns, we can help prevent potential hazards and safeguard our communities.”

Two additional bills were included in the package passed on Thursday. Bills Int. 0170  and Int. 231 propose significant changes to enhance parking structure safety. Int. 0170 aims to double the standard civil penalties for violations issued to parking structure owners. Meanwhile, Int. 231 seeks to increase the frequency of parking structure inspections from every six years to every four years. Additionally, Int. 231 stipulates that a follow-up inspection must be conducted within two years after a parking structure is deemed safe, following repairs or monitoring.