2003-05-30 / Front Page

Will New $igns Lead To More Fines?

By Brian Magoolaghan
Will New $igns Lead To More Fines?

Will New $igns Lead To More Fines?

New signs that dictate behavior on both the beach and the boardwalk have been put in place by the Parks Department. Signs are meant to codify existing rules, but many locals think that they mean more tickets for beachgoers this coming summer season.New signs that dictate behavior on both the beach and the boardwalk have been put in place by the Parks Department. Signs are meant to codify existing rules, but many locals think that they mean more tickets for beachgoers this coming summer season.

The Parks Department, last Friday, installed new signs along the boardwalk that list several pre-existing "Beach Rules" that are unpopular with many residents, but local authorities and representatives say enforcement will not be oppressive.

"Summonses are to prevent violations that detract from the quality of life in the neighborhood," said Captain Charles Talamo of the New York City Police Department's 100 Precinct. He also said that there is no plan to write more tickets to bring the city more revenue. Talamo said that the majority of last years summonses were issued to non-residents for having alcohol on the beach, and suggested that meetings between his precinct and the public should occur regularly through the summer.

Those who have met with Talamo and other NYPD representatives from the 101 Precinct, said this summer will be different from last, when a "Wave of Tickets" hit many residents.

City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr., the chair of the council's Parks Committee, cited two recent, publicized, incidents where city residents were ticketed for commonplace behavior, but said he thinks the Rockaway police precincts will "use common sense enforcement." He also noted that the beach and boardwalk rules were established because of "prior unwanted activity." A fortified relationship between the community and precincts exists, and he is looking forward to a "peaceful" summer, Addabbo said.

"[Enforcement] isn't going to be any different," said Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska. "It's not going to be any worse, because the police have made a commitment to be understanding of community traditions," he added.

Gaska said residents and visitors also need to use common sense, in keeping themselves and others safe, and ticket-free.

"If it's Saturday, and you're riding (a bicycle) on the boardwalk like a lunatic-you're going to get a ticket," he said.

Another activity guaranteed to get you ticketed, according to Gaska and authorities, is treading on the rock jetties, though it is not mentioned on the new signage. Gaska said there will be "zero tolerance" of fisherman and others who venture out on the rocks.

One group that could see deregulation in the future is bicyclists. Gaska said the creation of a bike lane, which is common on other boardwalks, could happen as soon as next summer. Another group is surfers. At the 100 Precinct Community Council meeting this week, boarders asked about having Beach 90 Street designated "surfing only," -so they could surf all day, not just during off hours. They were told that, while it has not happened yet, Addabbo is working on it.

The meeting was held at the Knights of Columbus, and was attended by about 20 residents. Many asked the Parks Department and the NYPD questions about various subjects, but beach-related questions, including the new signs, seemed first on people's minds.

About 250 new signs were installed, according to New York City Parks and Recreation Department Spokesperson Eric Adolfsen. They are similar to those in other parts of the city, and consolidate the messages carried on older signs, which will now be removed, Adolfsen said.

Already, 70 of the new signs have been "removed," according to local Parks Manager Jim Casaro. The majority of those signs were installed in Belle Harbor, and were quickly either damaged or downed, during the first few hours they were hanging.

It's not clear if the sign tampering was in protest, or some random act of vandalism, Casaro said. Addabbo pointed out that the rules remain in effect with or without signage.

The request to replace the missing and damaged signs has already been made, Addabbo said.


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