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Adjacent Definition Rule

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Rule status: Proposed

Agency: DEP

Comment by date: March 7, 2024

Rule Full Text

The proposed rule defines the term "adjacent" for purposes of Section 24-163 of the Air Pollution Control Code, which prohibits vehicle idling for more than one minute if the vehicle is "adjacent" to a school or park.

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March 7, 2024
11:00am - 12:00pm EST


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Online comments: 53

  • Kevin McGhee

    DEP should withdraw this rule as proposed, which narrows the definition of adjacency with respect to schools relative to its current definition and will result in greater exposure of children to pollution. As proposed, a line of dump trucks across the street from a school or double parked next to the “adjacent” parking lane would not trigger the adjacency definition, while still posing a grave risk to the health of school children. This would allow polluting drivers to easily evade the 1 minute rule by standing across the street or a few feet off of the curb. The adjacency definition should instead be expanded to include ALL parts of ANY block that abut the school property or park.

    DEP’s mission is purportedly to protect the public and the environment. It is shameful that they are attempting to take this action which will obviously reduce protections afforded to children.

    Comment added February 7, 2024 9:22am
  • Peter Nigrini

    This proposed rule change undermines the effectiveness of the program and will result in detrimental effects on school age children. This change should not be made.

    Comment added February 7, 2024 1:53pm
  • AJ King

    I think it’s absolutely ridiculous for NYC/DEP to ease restricting on Idling. Just look at the amount of money that NYC is bringing in with this program, while cleaning up the air at the same time. It is VERY odd and contradictory that the DEP and NYC Council would take steps to weaken the program. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We must beg the question of…who benefits from weakening this idling program?

    Comment added February 7, 2024 3:07pm
  • David Bresnahan

    Pollution does not respect road markings. This will worsen children’s air quality immediately. Does DEP think emissions stay on the side of the street where they’re emitted? This is misguided and should not be approved.

    Comment added February 7, 2024 3:12pm
  • Climate Package

    This proposed rule weakens the currently existing idling law by excluding, from the stronger one-minute provisions, areas next door to, down the block from, or across the street from, schools (also parks). Because air pollution, including PM 2.5 pollution, travels far, this proposed rule will increase idling on school and park blocks and damage the health of every single New York City resident, student, and worker. This proposed rule will also, by increasing emissions, contribute to climate change. The health and climate impacts, as always, will be disproportionately felt in lower income communities.

    Moreover, the proposed rule will invite endless wrangling, during idling hearings and during DEP reviews, as to property lines of businesses. This will dissuade participation by the public in the citizen idling complaint program.

    This proposed rule further exacerbates the harm done by DEP’s current illegal and unconstitutional policy of allowing all school buses to idle for 30 minutes in connection with each pickup or dropoff.

    A good adjacent definition rule was proposed on April 12, 2023, by a member of the public. This strong, fair school-and-park adjacency definition rule was proposed to DEP by a mother of a one-and-a-half year old concerned about her baby breathing in fumes in Minetta Playground. It, very much consistent with the prior adjacent definition successfully used since 2009 by the DEP, reads:
    “Adjacent” shall mean on each and every street on which a school or park is located and/or has entrances and/or exits to such street. School shall include any building or structure, playground, athletic field or other property that is part of the school. Park shall include any building or structure, playground, field, court, green space, forest, garden, square, plaza, mall, greenstreet, walkway, bikeway, beach, course, pier, promenade, trail, pool, museum, rink, or other property that is part of the park, other than parking lots.

    DEP should evaluate, and adopt, this definition, which will be better for the environment and our health.

    It has become clear that New Yorkers need to stop subsidizing the leadership of DEP, such as Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala and Counsel Russell Pecunies, by paying them salaries to put forth rules that will harm New Yorkers with increased air pollution. Instead, the money set aside for their salaries should be paid to competent DEP leadership that will faithfully protect, not destroy, the environment. These individuals have blood, and asthma, and cancer, and developmental disorders, and the discriminatory effects of their decisions (such as proposing bad rules like this and banning foreign language speaking New Yorkers from participating in the idling complaint program) on their hands.

    Comment added February 7, 2024 3:24pm
  • Jonathan Weiner


    Please do not modify the adjacency definition for idling near schools. Idling should be reduced, not expanded. Doing so contradicts the mission of your organization.

    Comment added February 7, 2024 4:31pm
  • Raphael Wakefieldw

    We live in a city where public employees whose job is supposedly to enforce the law are breaking vehicular laws non-stop. These pathetic new regulations reflect the reality that entitled city employees and whoever else can get a fake plate on their car is free to do whatever they want with no consequence. I support this new reign of total lawlessness, enshrined in law.
    In fact, it does not go far enough. It is time, for the sake of reducing pollution and “maintaining passenger comfort”, to make it legal for all cars to drive onto the sidewalk of their occupants’ destinations and idle there for an unlimited amount of time. There should also be a complementary rule that all DEP employees may use city vehicles (which every city employee shall be issued) for any personal purpose they wish without regard to any laws whatsoever, and that they need not perform any further work to receive continued paychecks either. Get stuff done!

    Comment added February 7, 2024 10:54pm
  • Eric Eisenberg

    Please consider, as an environmentally preferable alternative, adjacent to mean “within 2,640 feet of,” or the definition proposed to the DEP on April 12th, 2023 by rulemaking request.

    The DEP’s proposed definition is an absolute insult to the good legislative work of Alexa Aviles, whose intro 606-A was intended to EXPAND the area covered by the one minute law, not RESTRICT it. Ms. Aviles and the Council obviously wanted to save children in passing intro 606-A. DEP, conversely, obviously wants to kill or otherwise harm children in proposing this terrible rule. I would submit that, instead of attempting to kill or harm children, DEP should instead adopt a broad adjacency definition consistent with Ms. Aviles’ and the City Council’s laudable legislative intent.

    Comment added February 8, 2024 9:48am
  • Aaron Jacobs

    More disappointment from DEP leadership. The DEP is tasked with protecting our air and keeping New Yorkers safe. My question is, who is benefiting from this rule change? It certainly isn’t our children nor the citizens of NY. Instead of working to weaken the program, why aren’t they working to strengthen it from pollution and idlers? Why does the DEP admin continue to reward Idlers with these rule changes? The way things are looking, this agency may change its name to the Department of Idler Protection. Step it up and get it together. They are not fooling anyone with these arbitrary rule changes.

    Comment added February 8, 2024 12:18pm
  • Heather Wopat

    When amending the definition of “adjacent” to schools and parks, DEP should keep in mind that particulate matter from car exhausts are not restricted to traffic lanes and parking zones marked by placards. If the goal is to protect young lungs from car exhaust pollution, the definition of “adjacent” should include vehicles in close proximity to/on the same block as the school or park no matter what traffic lane or parking zone (and whether this is directly in front of the school or not) they are idling in. In addition, “vehicles” should be noted to include city and law enforcement vehicles, not just commercial or private drivers. This proposed rule amendment undermines the existing idling restrictions and will negatively affect the health of all New Yorkers. We all have to breathe; why don’t we strengthen idling restrictions and work on improving public transit or non-fossil fuel powered transit instead? It is unconscionable that the leaders of DEP, whose mission is “To enrich the environment and protect public health for all New Yorkers by … reducing air, noise, and hazardous materials pollution” would think this is an improvement.

    Comment added February 8, 2024 2:48pm
  • Michael Forcina

    If these proposed changes were to go into effect, they would put our children at a greater risk of adverse health effects from air pollution. It seems these changes would help truck drivers evade accountability for the unnecessary pollution that they cause and the health of our children should be prioritized.

    Comment added February 10, 2024 8:07pm
  • Scott Weinstein

    This proposal is in the wrong direction. If anything the rules for adjacency need to be relaxed to be defined in terms of radial distance or linear walking distance (turns allowed). For the simple reason that air pollution is in the air doesn’t keep track of where the roads are.

    Comment added February 13, 2024 12:14pm
  • Sarah Gentile

    This rule should not be amended because it creates loopholes to an otherwise common sense approach. We need to protect New Yorkers from the pollution caused by idling cars, not make it easier to thwart enforcement. Thank you.

    Comment added February 16, 2024 1:33pm
  • Nat D

    Protect our children and our climate by upholding – or strengthening! – our current air pollution controls, not weakening them.

    Comment added February 22, 2024 10:14am
  • Jane Burn

    Our block has struggled for years with the fumes from the ice cream trucks that idle at the entrance of the park in spring, summer and fall. Residents facing the park are unable to open their windows for much of the year, and our very busy park is flooded with constant exhaust.
    Ice cream trucks are currently exempt from the idling law because of the refrigeration component.
    We have asked for help for many years from the City, from the companies (we have multiple trucks parked in the no-standing zone), to the drivers themselves, all to no avail. These vehicles produce far more pollution than any Amazon truck, and it is constant. I implore the City to account for this issue in this rule, or another.

    Comment added February 23, 2024 1:17pm
  • J. M.

    This is a ridiculous proposed change, to lax restrictions on idling in a time where we should aggressively pursue any and all channels to reduce emissions. How anyone can suggest this in good conscience is beyond me.

    Comment added February 23, 2024 6:10pm
  • Kenneth Chin

    Please do not change this. Idling is not something that needs to be helped. Emissions do not only affect the air quality of its immediate area. This reads as a bad faith measure. Who is benefiting from this? Making this change directly hurts the individuals that are being protected.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 11:42am
  • Dhananjay Jagannathan

    Air quality in New York City is atrocious and young people suffer the most, with many of them going to develop lifelong health problems as a result. Idling vehicles can be seen on most blocks in the day time, with little to no enforcement by 311 or the NYPD Traffic Division, especially in the winter. This rule should NOT be changed. What we need is greater enforcement of existing anti-idling provisions.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 11:49am
  • Miles Pierce

    This proposed rule should be withdrawn and not enacted. We should be doing everything possible to fight against polluting our air, yet this rule would have the exact opposite effect. Please do not enact this rule!

    Comment added February 26, 2024 12:40pm
  • Matt Russell

    This proposal is in the wrong direction. If anything the rules for adjacency need to be relaxed to be defined in terms of radial distance or linear walking distance (turns allowed). For the simple reason that air pollution is in the air doesn’t keep track of where the roads are.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 12:44pm
  • Jonathan Swift

    We have reached a population size that is simply unsustainable, and I wholeheartedly support this proposed rule to help us limit the number of children by increasing truck and bus exhaust near schools and parks to shorten their lives.

    However, I do have one modest proposal. Once these children are killed by the fumes, they will surely be smoked most deliciously. If the rule allowed for not just the killing, but also the eating, of these wonderfully BBQ’d children, that would eliminate the food scarcity brought on by the climate effects of your proposed idling-increasing rule.

    Yours truly,

    Comment added February 26, 2024 12:55pm
  • Kewin Zygmunt

    Trucks and other vehicles making minor pollution while idling are neglegible compared to other parts of the world. In situations where a driver is stuck in a hot truck waiting for a shipment in the 90 degree sun or if your local mailman is freezing his boots off in the winter. A minor adjustment to an idle time of 5-10 minutes would be acceptable

    Comment added February 26, 2024 1:07pm
  • Katya Willard

    I disagree with this proposed rule change. We should not make it easier for vehicles to idle and pollute our neighborhoods. DEP is supposed to protect the environment – this proposed rule change does the opposite of that.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 1:14pm
  • WC

    Withdraw this proposed change immediately! This not only endangers our school staff and children, but goes against DEP’s mission. This proposal is reckless and backwards.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 1:21pm
  • Ryan Quinn

    I oppose increasing air pollution around schools. This should not be a debate.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 1:28pm
  • Cormac Nataro

    It is laughable that the DEP would attempt to weaken policies meant to protect the environment. Please reconsider this clearly misguided and foolish rule change.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 1:29pm
  • Your Mother

    I’m not mad, just extremely disappointed that you’d loosen pollution regulations.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 1:29pm
  • Landon Knoblock

    I oppose this rule.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 1:53pm
  • Jay Gupta

    Cars and trucks already idle throughout the city, spewing exhaust fumes which damage the quality of life of residents. There is no reason to make it easier for a vehicle to needlessly idle. Engines can be started in less than ten seconds. It seems the only reason this change is being proposed is to bring the definition of “adjacent” more in line with the dictionary definition, which seems irrelevant to me.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 1:56pm
  • Robert Bowen

    We are in a climate emergency and we DO NOT need to expand the areas where vehicles are allowed to idle. If anything, we should increase them! The air in NYC is polluted enough as it is, and there is no good reason for someone to idle at any time. Idling should be banned everywhere and I do not understand who in the world would want to allow more options for idling vehicles.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 2:03pm
  • James A Bonavita

    I don’t really understand the motivation behind changing this rule. We know that vehicle emissions play a large role in climate change and we know vehicle emissions play a damaging role in the health of our communities. Children are especially vulnerable and are several times more likely to develop asthma and childhood leukemia. They are also more susceptible to impaired lung growth, premature birth, and premature death due to emissions from vehicles.

    With all of these well studied, known facts in mind, why would the Department whose name suggests is responsible for Protecting our Environment even consider a policy that would make it acceptable for vehicles to idle for longer in locations that are in direct proximity to children. The department should be cracking down on idling and emissions overall, in every location around the city, because of how they affect every member of our communities. This change in definition should not even be on the table.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 2:28pm
  • Safiya Altman

    DEP should withdraw this rule, which will allow far more idling and pollution and will expose far more children to the detrimental effects of said car pollution. If anything, the rule should be expanded to include the ENTIRE city.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 3:09pm
  • Adam

    This would allow more pollution in our neighborhoods and is blatantly a bad idea. We should be further restricting the areas where you are allowed to idle a vehicle, not expanding it.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 3:34pm
  • Katherine

    No longer idling times! This will affect the environment and all of its living inhabitants to suffer more due to more pollution.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 3:35pm
  • Pavel D

    This is nonsense. To allow cars to idle for no particular reason, to ruin the quality of the air we breathe as we live here to make life cheaper and simpler for monied interests, is despicable. Do better, I am opposed to this. Our kids are more important than their profit

    Comment added February 26, 2024 4:10pm
  • Maggie Lee

    I do not support the proposal to increase idling times. I have asthma and so do many children in the area. We should be enforcing the law against polluters, not helping them do more of it. I am disappointed at the DEP for rolling back one of the easiest things we can do to reduce air pollution.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 4:10pm
  • David Casler

    I can’t believe you would even submit this. Drivers are a minority while people with lungs are at least, last I checked, a strong plurality. I don’t want my wife and son’s asthma to be worsened just because people can’t be bothered to turn their cars off.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 5:02pm
  • Binyamin Radensky

    We cannot give more room for idling. It is terrible for us and makes walking around our city unbearable for those that have a sensitivity to car exhaust. Not to mention how terrible it is for children etc. We should be tightening the rules around idling and forcing car manufacturers to turn off the engine automatically if the car does not move for 2 minutes.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 5:04pm
  • David Atkinson

    The proposed wording and diagram would seem to almost entirely nullify the applicability of the word ‘adjacent’ in the in the rules. Based on the new wording, the idle rules only apply when a vehicle is directly against the curb of the road. Double parked vehicles, and / or vehicles next to bike lanes would be exempt from the 1-minute standard. That does not seem to be in keeping with the purpose of the 1-minute standard in the first place, which is to reduce air pollution near schools.

    A much better solution would be to clarify ‘adjacent’ to mean the entire width of any road that directly abuts school property, for the entire length of said road until it crosses an intersection with another road. Such a wording would satisfy the goal of clarifying the meaning of the word ‘adjacent’ in the rules and would also provide a meaningful restriction on idling vehicles which, presumably, would help improve air quality near schools. In this wording, the diagram would have 1a, 1b, 2a, and 2b all falling under the 1 minute idling restrictions as they should, while 1c remains at the default 3 minute restriction since it is on a road that does not abut school property.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 5:10pm
  • Charlie Nom

    NYC should be trying harder to maintain clean air, changing verbiage or rules to softening regulations or to make exceptions, is not the solution here.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 5:15pm
  • Thomas Payne

    It’s unacceptable to give an inch of daylight to polluters in the city.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 6:06pm
  • Peter Roach

    This proposed rule change undermines the effectiveness of the program and will result in detrimental effects on school age children. This change should not be made.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 6:08pm
  • Stephen Souza

    Absolutely not. Vehicles idling should not be permitted to pollute the air in our neighborhoods!

    Comment added February 26, 2024 7:31pm
  • Robert Schumacher

    I STRONGLY oppose this rule change in the strongest possible terms. This change would be a huge step backwards. Idling vehicles spew unnecessary pollution and toxins into the air, landing in the lungs of New Yorkers and on our roads where they wash into our waterways. This is a terrible rule change and would stand in stark opposition to the City’s stated Climate goals.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 7:49pm
  • Thomas Mac

    Hello. Of course this shouldn’t be a rule as it would cause more pollution if the rule not to idle is neutered in any way to only apply when close to schools or parks.

    Don’t anyone else deserve fresh air? And you realize that air moves right. It doesn’t matter overall if cars are directly adjacent to a school or not, it still adds to the overall pollution.

    No car should ever be allowed to idle for more than 1 minute, and we should in general be tougher on people sitting in their cars with their engines on.

    Climate change is not just a buzzword, it’ll be the storm next year that ruins your house and all your things and makes you homeless in a blink of an eye. Don’t be stupid and saw off the branch on which you are sitting.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 9:02pm
  • Mel Skluzacek

    Please do not allow trucks to idle for more than a minute near our parks and schools. Enforcement of polluting trucks has not been adequate for years so we already can expect to have our air quality affected as it is and now the DEP wants to endanger people’s well-being by allowing more pollution. How does this make sense? How does allowing trucks to idle along sidewalks where kids walk and in parks where families go to have a reprieve from the daily assault on our lungs in this city? Because I want to know what the net benefit is and for whom this serving. From my perspective, it is foolish, ignorant and frankly selfish to allow trucks to idle anymore than they already do and get away with. Enough of the excuses made that lessen the quality of life here during a time when car and truck use has exploded in the city over the last four years. DO the right thing DEP for kids, the vulnerable and everyone that doesn’t appreciate breathing in a tailpipe when visiting our parks and going to school.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 9:42pm
  • Alexis Perez-Gonzalez

    I do not support this proposed rule

    Comment added February 26, 2024 11:20pm
  • Nicholas Fazio

    I oppose this rule change. Vehicle emissions impact on children don’t lessen if the idlers are parked across the street. This is weakening existing protections put in place to protect our air quality.

    Comment added February 26, 2024 11:57pm
  • Anjali Bhat

    I oppose this because it will allow more idling near schools and parks.

    Comment added February 27, 2024 1:23am
  • Alex G

    There is no need for idling, especially in a school zone. Stop loopholes.

    Comment added February 27, 2024 7:20am
  • David Reid

    I oppose those rule. We need to reduce the anount of idling vehicles, not increase.

    Please do not vote for this.

    Comment added February 27, 2024 11:12am
  • J. Mohorcich

    I oppose this proposed rule, which would weaken existing protections for children’s health in favor of idling vehicles.

    Comment added February 27, 2024 12:25pm
  • Alan Morningstar

    This is clearly a rule change that disregards the intent and spirit of the original rule. Is idling really something we want to promote, or is it lazy behavior on the part of motorists which presents significant, known, and quantifiable externalities? Scientific data prove that children are one of the most vulnerable groups to this kind of easily preventable pollution.

    Comment added February 27, 2024 4:05pm