Legislature approves legislation to strengthen oversight of parking structure safety

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Senate gives final ok, legislation now goes to Governor

(ALBANY, NY) — The New York State Senate today gave final legislative approval to legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) and Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) to require periodic inspections by licensed professional engineers to ensure the safety of parking ramps throughout New York State.

The legislation (S7669/A9614) was approved by the Assembly on June 6th. It will now be delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law. New York would be the first state in the nation to require regular inspections of parking structures.

“This bill is a necessary step to protect the people of New York; motorists who park in these garages should not have to worry about their safety and the safety of their vehicles,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “I’m optimistic the Governor will sign this bill when it reaches his desk.”

“Aging infrastructure needs to be regularly inspected to ensure public safety. That’s just common sense and it’s been lacking in New York State when it comes to parking ramps,” said O’Mara. “This legislation has been developed with input from construction and engineering professionals and experts, and we believe it’s an effective oversight response.”

“In light of the deteriorating conditions of many parking garages across the state, including the recent collapse in Johnson City, we need this bill to protect the people we represent,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “I’m usually not a fan of new government regulations, but by requiring consistent inspections for parking garages, we can prevent tragedy and possibly save lives. I was proud to cosponsor this legislation.”

Lupardo and O’Mara introduced the legislation earlier this session following the partial collapse last summer of a parking ramp at UHS Medical Center in Johnson City in Lupardo’s district. Since that incident, other parking garages in Binghamton and Ithaca have been closed due to structural safety concerns.

If enacted by Cuomo, the new law would amend the state’s building code standards to require:

> inspection of parking structures every five years, including an analysis of the design and any alterations, as well as a 10-year lifespan projection;

> an immediate, additional inspection following any natural disaster or accident that could compromise structural integrity; and

> within 60 days, public reporting of the results of every inspection.

The inspections would be performed by licensed professional engineers. The new rules would cover private and public parking structures consisting of more than a single, at-grade level.

There are currently no state or federal requirements for periodic structural stability inspections of parking structures. Fire safety and property maintenance inspections are required as part of municipal code inspections every three years, but inspections of the actual structural stability of the structures are left up to the owner.