UPPER WEST SIDE — Hundreds of news racks should be immediately removed from the Upper West Side because they are poorly maintained and clog the streets, local community board members said.
Community Board 7 member Marc Glazer has made the elimination of news racks — the plastic boxes full of free literature and news that sit on street corners — his pet project this past year, researching ways to make the city take action to remove them.
"They’re so dirty that nobody in their right mind would touch them," said Glazer, who said he discovered that under city laws it is the Department of Transportation's responsibility to remove the racks if they are vandalized, dirty, empty or in disrepair.
But that job is clearly too overwhelming, Glazer asserts, adding that the boxes, which hold copies of AM New York, Metro the Village Voice and special interest and non-English papers, sit unused, adding to street congestion.
"We’re faced with all of these bikes [from the Citi Bike program] and we have more and more news racks coming," he said.
Board member Dan Zweig proposed not only calling on the DOT to take them all out, but to ban them entirely.
"This has become a scourge on our neighborhood. We should be asking the City Council to rescind the law [permitting them]," he said.
The DOT did not respond to a request for comment.
The proposal to remove the racks passed unanimously at the transportation committee meeting Wednesday night. It will be reviewed at the full board meeting June 4.
Upper West Siders had mixed reactions to the plan and the racks themselves.
Martha Steinmetz said the racks detracted from the neighborhood.
"I do think they're ugly and they aren't maintained well," she said.
But Becca Lee, who was hurrying past Broadway and West 74th Street, said the racks were much ado about nothing.
"I don't pay attention to them," she said.