2008-04-25 / Editorial/Opinion

Open Parking Spaces,Not Closed Minds

Once again, the great minds in the Department of Transportation believe that they know better than local residents what a community needs. For more than 30 years, the city maps used by the DOT have shown that the majority of the streets in Broad Channel are "substandard width," and that there should therefore be no parking allowed on those streets. Afew years ago, the agency put up signs denoting "No Parking Any Time" on many of the streets west of Cross Bay Boulevard. The signs came down as quickly as they went up, and, we believe, rightfully so. The fact is, there is no place else for Broad Channel residents to park. Most of the homes amount to extended bungalows and they have no driveways or garages. No parking is allowed on the central mall on Cross Bay Boulevard. We have to ask the DOT, where are the residents to park? As we see it, they have few options. The can park on the streets east of Cross Bay Boulevard, but those are already filled with the vehicles of residents living on those streets. They can park in Rockaway or Howard Beach and walk a few miles to get to their homes, but that hardly is a solution. The DOT says that the signs are necessary because emergency vehicles cannot get through if motorists are parked at the curb. A quick check with the local volunteer fire department, however, reveals that there has never been an incident in which the ambulances and fire apparatus could not get through to a Broad Channel home. Why is the DOT severely and negatively impacting homeowners without good reason? The only answer seems to be "because they can," and that is no reason for a city agency to act so negatively on a community. A DOT spokesperson said that they have to put the signs in place because the law requires it, and that there is no way to change the law. We do not believe that. Something must be done to relieve the burden unfairly put on Broad Channel homeowners.

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