We see it all the time when the Department of Homeless Services places homeless men, women and children in shelters overnight, only for the community to find out about it the next day.
Neighbors aren’t necessarily angry that it’s happening in their backyard, but that the city gives minimal notice prior to taking action. More often than not, community members are frustrated with the lack of notification.
Another example is the Department of Transportation’s Clear Curbs pilot initiative, which eliminated metered parking and loading along busy commercial corridors during rush hour. While it had good intentions of easing congestion in high-traffic areas, it hurt local businesses that relied on the parking for customers.
After meeting with merchants and small business owners, DOT agreed to cut the pilot program short.
Now, the City Council is considering legislation to require city agencies to notify community boards, business improvement districts, and elected officials if any project disrupts street usage.
DOT did conduct some outreach to businesses and residents before implementing Clear Curbs, but it clearly wasn’t enough.
Whether it’s homelessness, transportation or other issues that affect everyday New Yorkers, city agencies should find ways to improve community notification for major programs and initiatives.
When residents, businesses and elected officials are fully aware of what’s going on –– whether they agree with the change or not –– at least they have a chance to be part of the discussion before the conversation is over.
That’s all anyone can ask for.