New York Shops to Get a New Look...Eventually

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The look of New York's street level retail is going to have to change under a new city council bill, albeit very slowly. The City Council approved legislation this afternoon that will eventually require stores to replace their opaque rolldown burglar gates with a mesh kind. The bill gives stores 17 years to make the switch, though any store that installs a new gate after July 2011 has to make sure it's the new kind, allowing at least 70 percent of the window to be visible.

The bill's sponsor, council member Peter Vallone Jr., says the semi-transparent gates will reduce graffiti and allow strollers to window shop after hours.

Council Speaker Chris Quinn says the drop-down gates provide too tempting a target for vandals. "We are going to hopefully decrease graffiti in the city of New York and make the streetscapes of our city more attractive," Quinn says.

The new type of gates cost about $300 to $400 more than the old type, according to council officials.

Officials say the generous deadlines will reduce the burden on small businesses. They say 15 years is the effective lifespan of any security gate.