Dyker Heights

Community Board 10 to hold Dyker meeting on Christmas lights

More city resources needed to handle traffic, officials say

October 4, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Tourists flock to Dyker Heights every year to take in the delightful Christmas displays, but the annual feast for the eyes causes major traffic jams in the neighborhood, according to Community Board 10 officials. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan

Community Board 10 officials, eager to avoid a repeat of the traffic jams that clogged the streets of sleepy Dyker Heights during the Christmas season last year, will hold a meeting with the Dyker Heights Civic Association and local residents next month to discuss ways to mitigate traffic bottlenecks this year.

Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, said the meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 9, at Saint Phillips Episcopal Church Hall, 1072 80th St., at 7 p.m.

“The bottom line is that we need more resources in the community to handle all of the traffic coming through. It gets so bad sometimes that residents can’t get out of their own driveways,” Beckmann told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday.

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Additional police officers, traffic control agents and sanitation workers are needed during the month of December, Beckmann told members of Board 10 at a recent board meeting.

Dyker Heights has become world famous for the extravagant Christmas displays homeowners install for the holiday season.

The homeowners proudly mount enormous, eye-catching, colorful, imaginative holiday displays on their front lawns with thousands of twinkling lights, inflatable Santas, giant nutcrackers and sweet snowmen.

Thousands of tourists, including many who come from thousands of miles away, descend on Dyker Heights during the Christmas season each year to take in the community’s famous holiday displays.

But with the global fame has come problems for local residents, according to Beckmann.


As a result, she and other local officials are seeking to gain tighter control over the extravaganza so that traffic can flow smoothly through the streets and residents don’t have major headaches dealing with the influx of visitors.

The holiday lights display stars homeowners living in the area of Dyker Heights that stretches from 11th to 14th avenues, between 82nd and 86th streets.

In June, Jaynemarie Capetakanis, chairperson of Board 10’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, floated the idea of obtaining a special permit from the city’s Street Activity Permit Office to re-categorize the Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Display as a street event.

“This would enable the community to get more restrictions on vending, more police presence, an agreement on the timing of the lights, prevent sound permits for DJs, enforce parking restrictions, create designated tour bus drop-off sites and ensure that all fundraising is disclosed,” Capetanakis wrote in a report to the community board.

Dyker Civic Association President Fran Vella Marrone told members of Capetanakis’ committee that changing the designation so that it is officially recognized as a street event would help make the holiday happening safe and fun for everyone, tourists and residents alike.

Under city regulations, all applications for street events must come to the local community board for review. That would give Board 10 more of a say in how the holiday lights display unfolds.

The timeline for the street event permit would be from Dec. 1 to Jan. 3, according to Capetanakis.

A controversy erupted over the holiday display during the 2016 holiday season.

In an effort to control traffic, the city prohibited parking on 86th Street to allow tour buses to park there. The restrictions, which banned parking on two blocks along 86th Street, were in effect on Thursdays through Sundays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. during the month of December.

But the effort was sharply criticized by local residents who complained about losing parking spaces for their cars.

Beckmann told The New York Times that the parking restrictions were put in place in the interest of public safety.

 


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