2005-05-20 / Community

DOT: Removing No Parking Any Time Signs Is ‘Feasible’

By Howard Schwach

The New York City Department of Traffic has made a study of the impact on both traffic and the community of the No Parking Any Time signs that were posted on Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 125 Street and Beach 128 Street in April of last year and has decided that removing the signs would be feasible as long as the Community Board and the community at large agree.

After the signs were put in place shortly before the Easter Holiday last year, a new organization called “Coalition Against No Parking Signs,” or CANPAS was formed. The organization, founded by local resident Daniel Ruscillo and his wife, Linda lobbied Community Board 14 for a review.

At the time, Jonathan Gaska, the District Manager for the board, said that the parking restrictions were part of the agreement to build the new central malls from Beach 126 Street to Beach 139 Street, an agreement that was vetted by both the Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor Property Owners associations.

A review of documents, however, showed that the Rockaway Park group opposed the parking ban and the DOT agreed to study the Rockaway Park portion of Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

In a letter to Gaska sent last week, DOT officials said that they had completed the study requested by the community board and that it was “feasible to remove the signs from Beach 125 Street to Beach 128 Street.” Provided an affirmative vote by the community board and the approval of the local civic association.

A meeting of the community board

is set for June 14 and it is expected

the parking question will be on the agenda.

Ruscillo told The Wave that the DOT’s letter does not completely satisfy him or his organization.

“There is no reason for the community board to have to vote again on this issue,” he said. “They never voted on it in the first place – it was pushed through as part of the mall construction plan, and many of the members did not even know that it was going to be done.”

“If it is feasible, then the DOT should do it,” he said.

Another drawback, Ruscillo says is that one man, Edward Re, Jr., is now the president of the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association as well as the vice-president of the Belle Harbor organization. He favors the no parking ban, although Ruscillo argues that most of his membership does not.

In addition, Ruscillo says, the plan to remove the signs should cover not only Beach 125 to Beach 128, but the entire run from Beach 125 to Beach 139.

At least one member of the homeowners association disagrees with Ruscillo on removing the signs.

Fran Stathis says that she and many of her friends were in favor of reinstating the parking on the boulevard but now support keeping the No Parking Any Time signs.

“As a life-long residents of this community, I have seen many changes – most of which have been in the best interests of the community,” Stathis says. “Removing the parking on Rockaway Beach Boulevard not only beautifies the community, but more importantly, it makes the busy boulevard much safer for drivers, pedestrians and especially our children.”

Stathis argues that the no parking area acts as a safety lane where children can skateboard and adults can bicycle safely without worrying about cars coming from behind them.

“We ask that parking convenience not come before safety,” she concludes.

It is not known when the Rockaway Park Owners and Residents Association would vote on the proposal, which has yet to be formalized by the DOT.

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