The Street Vendor Project released a study, Peddling Uphill (PDF), showing the difficulties street vendors have these days, given steep fines that are handed down for small infractions. The group's director, Sean Basinski, told Metro, “Since our survey, the maximum fine has gone from $250 per ticket to $1,000. That’s $1,000 for a sixth offense within two years. A first fine is just $50, but the second citationdoubles to $100. The third climbs to $250, the fourth is $500, and a fifth fetches $750. “We know the average vendor collects at least that many within a year, so maybe 20 percent of vendors’ incomes will go to tickets every year.”
Here are some quotes related to the story:
"It's a battle every day. They give you a ticket if you are 20 feet from a storefront. They give you a ticket if you are 20 feet from the crosswalk. Where are we supposed to go?" - Vendor Cornell Sims (Daily News)
"I moved as soon as the police told me to move, but still got a ticket. It seems they are looking for any reason to ticket us. I came to this country to find the American Dream. Instead I got a red ticket."- Vendor Grace Zhang, who had waited under an awning during a rainstorm (AMNY)
"If you drive past a red light, it's an offense where you could kill someone, yet you don't pay more than $200." - Vendor Moustapha Cisse (NY Post)
“I guess first and foremost I’d say, ‘Don’t break the law and then you won’t have that problem.’” - Mayor Bloomberg (NY Times)
The Street Vendor Project suggests that 1) fines be reduced; 2) caps on licenses and permits for street vendors be raised; 3) more public space should be accessible; 4) improve police knowledge about vendor laws; and 5) provide translators for the vendors, which would help during police and court situations.
If you don't get to read the report itself, the NY Times article looks at the statistics from the study, like ethnic make-up, what vendors sell, and why they are vendors.
Photograph from Michael Brandon on Flickr