NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Cracked concrete, corroded metal, a state of disrepair. That's how numerous parking garages have been described that have unresolved safety violations in New York City, some of them dating back more than a decade.
The parking garage collapse on Ann Street in lower Manhattan was a deadly sign of a bigger problem in New York City: a pattern of older buildings with open violations that haven't been fixed.
Parking garages endure wear and tear that other buildings don't. The concrete and steel is exposed to the elements, to salt, and to exhaust all year round.
7 On Your Side Investigates found dozens of parking garages with unresolved violations. One of those garages was ordered to shut down 24 hours after we showed up.
To search a parking garage for violations, you can input the address here to receive results.
More than 60 parking structures have open violations for failing to maintain the structural conditions of the building. Since the collapse on Ann Street, the city has been doing enforcement sweeps.
"I mean that's a notice, you're on notice that the department's serious about this," said Rick Chandler, the former DOB Commissioner for NYC. "You as the owner need to get your qualified inspector out there and know what' going on in your building," he said.
The city shut down eight garages over the last few weeks from Park Slope to Coney Island.
7 On Your Side looked through inspection records for ZIP codes in Lower Manhattan and found numerous garages with outstanding violations.
For example, a parking garage on East 9th was cited last month for having "cracks" and concrete framing that was observed to be in a "state of disrepair."
When 7 On Your Side showed up to see if the violations had been fixed, a manager said he didn't know, but that it was business as usual at the busy parking structure where you can see cars filling the building from the roof down. One day after we showed up, the city issued a partial vacate order, ordering the owner to empty the garage.
Another garage on Chrystie Street has an open violation dating back to 2011, claiming there are "cracks" and "raised walls" that need to be fixed. There's no records filed that show the improvements had been made.
Also, a garage on Canal Street that is sandwiched in between other buildings, had an open violation dating back to 2004 for having "vertical cracks in brick wall" and "loose" bricks.
In both of those cases, workers told us to call the manager. After leaving numerous phone messages, they never returned our calls.
"I don't think I'd go as far as to say let's just trust them to do that, I think that's why you have the regulatory agencies," said Chandler.
There is more regulation. City leaders passed a new law that requires parking garages to go through routine inspections at least once every six years. They have until the end of the year to complete the first round of inspections.
"All of that is absolutely a step in the right direction to make sure that the public is safe," said Chandler. "I would say New Yorkers need to realize that there's a very good system in place, obviously there are some gaps, but the system in New York City will all of its stock of buildings are in good shape."
A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings said in a statement:
"Following the building collapse in Lower Manhattan...DOB immediately began reviewing records of structures with parking facilities, in order to conduct targeted enforcement sweeps of similar structures with potential safety concerns or with outstanding DOB-issued violations around the city. This work was done in the interest of public safety, and out of an abundance of caution. During our sweep of 78 parking structures, we found four locations where structural concerns necessitated areas of the buildings to be immediately vacated. These actions were taken by the Department to protect the public, until such time as the building owners can make the necessary repairs."
The city is also encouraging people to file complaints with 311 if they observe concerns with buildings and how they're maintained.
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