Lupardo announces initiatives to improve safety of parking garages

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(BINGHAMTON, NY) – After a number of failures in local parking garages, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo announced two new steps to ensure the safety of New Yorkers who use these structures. As a result of her request for additional training opportunities, the Department of State (DOS) will now offer a course for local code enforcement officers on the inspection of parking structures. Lupardo also plans to introduce new legislation during the upcoming legislative session to require periodic structural inspections of parking structures by licensed professional engineers.

“Following the collapse of the parking ramp at UHS in Johnson City, I was shocked to learn that there were no regulations requiring structural stability inspections.” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell). “I reached out to the Department of State to find out what steps could be taken to remedy this. As a result, the Department responded almost immediately by creating a new training course for code enforcement officers focused specifically on parking structures in the hope that they may be better equipped to recognize an imminent structural failure.”

The first offering of the course, “Procedures and Techniques for Inspection of Parking Structures”, will be held on January 21st in Binghamton City Council Chambers from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. The course will feature Brian Tollisen, Assistant Director of the Division of Building Standards and Codes and William Sherman, Code Compliance Specialist as presenters.

“The welfare and safety of New Yorkers is a top priority of the Department of State,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales. “Given the aging parking infrastructure we are seeing all over the State, we must ensure that local code enforcement officers are in the best position to identify potential issues. We look forward to working with Assemblywoman Lupardo and local code enforcement officials to provide the necessary training to ensure parking structures are inspected properly.”

“This training will provide for the technical aspects of the inspection procedure for parking garage structures, and will provide for more insight as to what is inspected in these types of facilities which should provide for an informed inspector and a safer environment,” said Marty Moseley, First Vice President and Chairman of Education for the Southern Tier Building Officials Association.

Lupardo also announced plans to introduce legislation in the upcoming 2016 session that will require periodic inspections of parking structures by licensed professional engineers. Even with the additional training that will be conducted by DOS for local code enforcement officers, a licensed professional engineer in some cases may be in a better position to assess structural soundness. The legislation is currently being drafted, and industry professionals have been engaged to ensure sound requirements are put in place.

“Locally we’ve seen serious issues with our parking ramps – the collapse of the ramp at UHS in Johnson City, and the closure of the Collier Street ramp in Binghamton. We’re also seeing closures in other parts of the state,” said Lupardo. “As these structures are aging, we need to be diligent in inspecting and maintaining them. It’s essential for public safety.”

For more information on the course, those interested can contact Bruce Bates, President of the Southern Tier Building Officials Association (STBOA) at 607-273-1783 or Marty Moseley, 1st Vice President of STBOA at 607-257-8363 ext. 3.