City Council passes garage safety bills in wake of Lower Manhattan collapse

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The collapsed roof of the garage at 57 Ann Street.
Photo by Dean Moses

The New York City Council on Thursday passed a package of bills intended to shore up the safety of the city’s parking garages following last year’s fatal collapse of a garage on Ann Street in lower Manhattan.

The marquee bill of the package, Intro 135-A, would require the Department of Buildings to conduct a “loadbearing study” on parking garages. Inspectors will have to conduct a sample of parking garages “of varying ages and construction types,” and report on the age and condition of the garage’s material components, the effect of environmental conditions on the material, and the garage’s history of repairs and alterations.

The DOB would also have to report how often garages are above capacity and the impacts of increasingly heavy cars, including electric charging infrastructure.

The garage at 57 Ann Street collapsed last April under a load of cars far beyond what it was originally designed for in 1925. The collapse killed site manager Willis Moore and injured five others. The garage had a history going back 20 years of building code violations, including for “loose” and “defective” concrete.

“Addressing structural safety issues in our city’s parking garages by keeping them in good repair can save lives and prevent future tragedies,” Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said in a statement.

Also passed by the Council was Intro 170-A, which increases fines for various building code violations by parking garages, and Intro 231-A which shortens inspection cycles for garages from every six years to four years.