2001-08-04 / Letters

No Impound Lot

No Impound Lot

Dear Editor;

At the 100th Precinct Council Meeting last week I was not at all surprised when Harold Rochelle took a vote as to the feelings of audience members on using the northeast section of the Riis Park Parking Lot as a City impound location for housing 2,500 automobiles.  Everyone voted against it.  I, too, am opposed to establishing a commercial enterprise in the parking lot for the obvious reasons: air and noise pollution, the unsightly appearance, the close proximity to a residential area and added traffic congestion.  I would like to mention, perhaps the single most important factor omitted from the
limited discussion that evening, our

evacuation route.

Every coastal town in the country has an evacuation route with signs posted in case of disaster.  Where are ours?  The added procession of trucks towing cars to Riis Park will severely compromise residents' ability to exit the peninsula in case of disaster.
I have nightmares envisioning twenty five tow trucks lumbering through our communities, limited road space and two-lane bridges vying with school buses and elderly drivers for a piece of the road.  I cringe knowing the aggressive manner in which tow truck drivers operate their vehicles -a fact
that leaves no room for dispute.
When Billy Garrett, Assistant Superintendent of Gateway spoke in favor of the proposal, he mentioned that he thought the auto pound would cause little or no inconvenience to area residents.  He further mentioned that the additional income from the lot, $2.5 million per year would go a long way toward improving the deteriorating condition of Riis Park.  I believe Mr. Garrett was half right.  No one can doubt the income, if used wisely, would improve the park.  But, at what cost?

The surprise of the 100th Precinct Meeting was when Mr. Garrett confessed he had been in negotiation with Deputy Mayors of New York City for two months.  I find it troubling that not a single member of our community was invited to attend these discussions from their onset.  Certainly, as Mr. Garrett stated, it is nice for Gateway to be a good friend of City Government.  However, shouldn't Gateway be a responsible neighbor as well?

I fervently hope this issue will be permanently put to rest and Mr. Garrett and the community can find alternate ways of raising money to improve the park.

Mr. Garrett, an automobile impound lot does not belong in a national park.

GINGER SMITH


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