Did you know you can get a $1,000 ticket for parking more than 18 inches from the curb? When you’re earning an average of $14,000 a year, as many of New York City’s street vendors do, that can really get in the way of making a living.
In 2009, The Street Vendor Project, designer Candy Chang, and CUP created this issue of Making Policy Public to decode the rules and regulations for New York’s 10,000 street vendors so they can understand their rights and avoid unnecessary fines.The poster uses simple graphics and minimal text — in the five languages most commonly spoken among NYC’s vendors — to explain some of the most-often violated laws.
CUP and Street Vendor Project staff and volunteers launched the project with a sweep through the five boroughs to distribute over a thousand copies of the poster in a single day. The document’s portable format makes it easy for vendors to keep them on-hand. Street Vendor Project members tell us they even show them to police when there’s a question about a specific law!
Street Vendor Project has distributed thousands of copies to its members, and other organizations that deal with street vendor issues are using them, too.
Update: After years of fighting against Mayor Bloomberg and his $1,000 fines on hard-working street vendors, Street Vendor Project successfully campaigned to have City Council reduce the maximum vendor fine for minor offenses to $500. That’s still a lot of money for a street vendor violation, but this success demonstrates the growing power of the vendor community.
You can get a Vendor Power! of your own here!