Neighborhoods

Sidewalk ATM Crackdown! City Council Fights ‘Blight’ to Communities

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The City Council has passed a resolution to crackdown on those sidewalk ATMs. Apparently they’re illegal, so while you may have to work harder to find your local bank branch next time you’re strapped for cash and wandering around the East Village drunk and/or hungry, at least you won’t have to shell out $3 to withdraw your own money just to get mugged on the sidewalk by some dude in a ski mask.

In a press release, city council speaker Christine Quinn said the sidewalk ATMs “attract vandalism and crime.” (She also called them “nothing more than Asking for Trouble Machines.” See what she did there?)
Diana Reyna, the Brooklyn councilwoman who drafted the law, added that unregulated ATMs cause safety, traffic, and “visual pollution” concerns:
“Vandalized sidewalk ATMs blight communities and clog the walking corridors of heavily trafficked sidewalks,” she said. “A functioning city must enforce legislation that reduces crime and other quality of life issues.”
Under the bill (which the Daily News says Mayor Bloomberg is expected to sign), the city’s Department of Transportation will give landlords 30 days’ notice to remove illegal ATMs. After that, they’ll get slapped with $5,000 fines every week until the machines are removed (and if a single owner’s fines hit $50,000 and go unpaid for 90 days, the city will simply swoop in and seize the ATM).
Last year, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also criticized the sidewalk ATMs. His office launched a study that found 242 illegal ATMs in Manhattan, nearly 100 of which were in the East Village alone. They also found that more than 85 percent of the sidewalk ATMs “lacked visible surveillance cameras,” fewer than 4 percent were equipped with mirrors, and 41 percent were “defaced with graffiti.”
[shernandez@villagevoice.com]

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