Dyker Heights

Cops forge compromise in Dyker Christmas parking fight

December 5, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The popularity of the Dyker Heights Christmas lights has grown to the point where neighborhood streets are clogged with traffic, local officials said. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan
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A potentially messy controversy that erupted over the city’s decision to ban parking along a wide swath of 86th Street to accommodate tour buses bringing in visitors to see the world-famous Christmas lights of Dyker Heights appears to have been nipped in the bud.

The brouhaha came to light two weeks ago after the 68th Precinct, without prior warning, suddenly put up “No Parking” signs on 86th Street from Seventh Avenue all the way to 14th Avenue. Parking along 86th Street is to be banned on that stretch of 86th Street from 3 p.m. to midnight every day until Jan. 3, according to the signage.

The move was made so that tour buses could park on 86th Street to pick up and drop off the thousands of people who come to Dyker Heights to enjoy the Christmas displays, local officials said. With the restriction in place, the tour buses wouldn’t be navigating local roadways, many of which are one-way streets, and clogging up traffic.

But local residents balked at the arrangement, complaining that they resented having on-street parking spaces taken away. “Where are we going to park our cars?” Juan Salazar, who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, told Pix 11 News.

In the wake of the ire expressed by residents, the 68th Precinct met with tour bus operators late last week and following that meeting, a compromise was announced.

Bensonhurst Bean reported that the NYPD has shortened the restricted space to an area confined to 86th Street between 11th and 13th avenues, a change from the original plan, which called for the restriction to be in place from Seventh Avenue to 14th Avenue.

The precinct has also ordered that the tour bus operators can stay on 86th Street only long enough to drop off tourists. The buses will then have to travel to Poly Place, where they will pick up tourists after the visitors have completed their walking tours of Dyker Heights.

Police officers will be assigned to 86th Street and to Poly Place to ensure that bus drivers obey the new restrictions, Bensonhurst Bean reported.

The Dyker Heights holiday treat has been around for more than 30 years. The most elaborate decorations can be found on the blocks located between 83rd and 86th streets, stretching from 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue.

The decorations are a delight to the eyes and ears, as many homeowners share their Christmas spirits by festooning their balconies and front lawns with giant Santas, reindeer, snowmen, nutcrackers and angels while playing recorded music.

John Quaglione, a Bay Ridge resident involved in politics and in Catholic education in his community, was among many civic leaders calling for the city to come up with a compromise between the need to accommodate the tourists who flock to Dyker Heights and the residents who live in the neighborhood all year around and need to park their cars.

“The concerns of the residents should come first over that of the tourists. To eliminate parking for a significant period of time daily, through early January, is wrong and affects a lot of people who call Dyker Heights home, who park there for the express bus, who attend mass locally and who work at the area schools,” Quaglione wrote on Facebook.

“While the tourists are good for the local economy, the buses are dangerous and do cause traffic congestion. Having said that, the buses should drop folks off on 86th Street near about 10th Avenue and make arrangements to rent space either in the Dyker Beach Golf Course parking lot, or park alongside the other side of the golf course and set a time for return with their passengers,” Quaglione wrote.

Quaglione, who serves as president of the Board of Directors of Saint Anselm Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, is also deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn).


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