New Utrecht Avenue residents plead for more parking, less street-cleaning

January 15, 2015 Meaghan McGoldrick
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New Utrecht Avenue residents parked themselves at a January 8 Community Board 11 meeting, held at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare (1740 84th Street) to complain, once again, about a lack of parking in their area.

“We need parking,” asserted local resident Ruben Colon with two rows of neighbors beside him, holding up signs to show their frustration. The lack of parking, he said, stems from the board’s 2011 decision to recommend that the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) adopt a six-day-a-week street cleaning schedule in order to offset a number of rat infestations caused by construction on the strip.

Now, that construction is long over, and Colon and his neighbors say that, with the same schedule in place, their backyard (New Utrecht Avenue from 79th to 74th Streets) is getting the brunt of it.

“I respect your decision for the six days that the board passed in 2011 and my neighbors and I understand the reason behind it,” he said, “but there have been a number of incidents, a number of fights starting because of parking there.”

Those incidents, Colon said, include (but are not limited to) tire slashing and physical assaults.

“There’s been ticketing on Saturday mornings and I don’t think it’s fair to the residents,” he went on, asking the board to make the same recommendation Board Chairman Bill Guarinello says they made last month, and the month before: to scale back the street cleanings from six days a week, to three. “While it’s increased quality of life on one side, it hurts us on the other.”

“You’re preaching to the choir,” the chair asserted, assuring Colon and his neighbors that the board is on their side. “We’ve had a number of conversations and sent them to the committee, and they did come back and make a recommendation that the Department of Sanitation go back to four days from the six.”

From there, the board encouraged residents with parking concerns to see some of the elected officials and 62nd Precinct officers in the room.

“They trump us,” he said. “We’re only advisory.”

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