CB 14 Seeks DOT Help On ‘No Parking’ Signs
The often-contentious issue of the “No Parking Any Time” ban on Rockaway Beach Boulevard is entering a new phrase. At a meeting of the Community Board 14 Transportation Committee on July 22, it was decided that the issue would be turned over to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ascertain its opinion of the new parking procedures.
The Committee listened as representatives spoke for and against removing the signs.
“Our association, which represents the area, is disappointed by a select few who want to revisit the vote,” said Edward Re, the president of the 635 member Rockaway Park Homeowner’s Association. “This was hashed out several years ago.
“All those homeowners at the time, three years ago, absolutely every neighbor came and voiced their opinion…the plans were finally submitted to the DOT. They were returned for revisions and printed in the local paper.”
Linda Ruscillo, who along with her husband Daniel, founded The Coalition Against No Parking Signs (CANPAS), did not agree with Re.
The January 31, 2001 letter from the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents’ Board of Directors to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer reveals, “It is the consensus of this organization of 335 members that we do not, under any circumstances, support the Center Median Contract HWQ331C proposed for the construction on Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 130 Street and Beach 126 Street. That we demand the medians stop at Beach 130 Street is not a new stance [for the organization].”
Ruscillo gave the committee 76 letters asking for the ‘No Parking’ signs to be removed. He also said he had 600 signatures (100 from Belle Harbor residents).
“I had no problem getting almost 80 residents [over two Sundays to sign]. Nobody turned me down,” said Ruscillo. “Everyone wants one lane of traffic and the parking back. There’s more letters coming.”
Re and Bernie Warhock (another member of the Rockaway Park Homeowner’s Association) told the committee that the organization intended to take another vote on the matter.
“We were determined we were going to have a meeting and are going to have a ballot as to what our members [want],” said Warhock. “This is still on the table. We will do whatever our community wants.”
The meeting got a little heated when committee member Steve Cooper spoke. In addition to access to the beach and parking for people who rent, he also discussed the impression that so many ‘No Parking’ signs give to people outside the community.
“It’s almost like you’re saying stay out, don’t come in our exclusive community,” said Cooper. “It’s becoming more and more obvious that…and it seems to only other people not to you of course, and I don’t think you would intend it, but it gives the impression you’re saying “we’re an exclusive community and the less people from outside coming in the better we’d prefer it.”
One community member said, “We’re not discussing that here. You have no right to discuss that here.”
Yet, Al Moore defended Cooper by saying “I don’t have to live on your corner to have an opinion, to have my say.”
It was Re who tied his reaction to Cooper’s comments to the question of the parking signs.
“I don’t think you have a right because this was hashed out. This was beaten to death,” said Re. “I think that anyone who discusses it shows a tremendous disrespect for those of us who put 15 years in. It’s a total disrespect to have this discussion now.”
Committee co-chairman Steve Cromity suggested, and all parties agreed, to let the DOT decide on the matter of safety and traffic conditions that have been created by the median and the installation of the ‘No Parking’ signs. The committee hopes to get data on accidents in the area since and prior to the signs being put up.
“We’ll have a second meeting after getting the data and absorbing it,” explained Cromity.
The signs were put up over the Easter weekend and are scheduled for reevaluation after a four-month period.
In April Jonathan Gaska, the District Manager for Community Board 14, told The Wave that the DOT “wants to go through the busiest part of the summer and then review the signs.”