Tag Archives: Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

Residents nervous about Glendale homeless shelter impact on schools


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THE QUEENS COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata


Hundreds of residents voiced concerns of potentially overcrowded schools at a forum on the impact of a proposed homeless shelter in Glendale.

It would be irresponsible to put kids in a shelter that you cannot fit into its zoned school district, said Nick Comaianni, president of the Community Education Council for District 24 at the Wednesday meeting at P.S./I.S. 28.

“District 24 is already the most overcrowded school district in the city,” Comaianni said. “This is not a strategic place to house these children.”

Thirty-one of the 39 schools in the district are already over capacity, ranging from about 110 to 150 percent saturation, according to Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.

Adding the 125 families that are proposed for the Cooper Avenue shelter would mean the children living there would have priority to go to school in the area.

Increasing the number of seats to accommodate these families would be too much of a burden on the schools in the area, Crowley said.

“We need to find nearly 5,000 high school and elementary school seats for children already going to school in the area,” she said. “We have to do everything we can do to make sure [the proposed shelter] turns into a school to house these 5,000 children already overcrowding the district.”

The site was looked at two years ago by the School Construction Authority (SCA) but was deemed inadequate because of its proximity to busy Cooper Avenue and because there was a chemical plant  next door, among other things, according to Mary Lease, a representative from the SCA.

However, because Independent Chemical Corporation would now like to sell, adding that land to the land of both the vacant factory and the Hansel ‘n Gretel meat processing plant, which is for sale, means the SCA is re-considering the nine acre plot for a school, Lease said.

To buy the land, the SCA first has to do environmental assessment tests on all three of the sites.  At this point, only Hansel ‘n Gretel has agreed to let the SCA on their property to do an environmental review, with the owner of the vacant factory and owner of the Independent Chemical Company denying access, according to Lease. Without all three sites, the SCA will not build a school there, according to Lease.

Samaritan Village, the nonprofit organization looking to build the homeless shelter on the site, wants to lease the vacant factory for 60 years.

The proposed lease has not made its way to City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office yet, according to Crowley.

“We have to keep pressing upon the mayor’s office and continue our fight,” state Sen. Joe Addabbo said. “We have a serious issue regarding the overcrowding of our schools and this is not an issue that will go away.”

There is one possibility that may alleviate the further overcrowding of schools in the area if the homeless shelter is built. The school of origin program is one where children who move from one district to another can stay in the school they attended previously. This is a condition that parents of the homeless children may consider which can help some of congestion.

But considering that District 24 schools are already at 30 percent higher capacity than any other district in the city, adding even a couple of children to the schools would be too much, Crowley said.

Residents of the district asked both Crowley and Addabbo what the plans are going forward.

Crowley said she would make sure the chancellor of New York City Schools, Carmen Fariña, is aware of the issues that are already facing the district even without children from the shelter. Addabbo said he will continue to fight and send letters to the mayor’s office about the negative impact this shelter will have on the community.

But both agreed that residents also need to voice their concerns to the comptroller’s and mayor’s offices to show there is great concern for their children’s education.

 

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Maspeth celebrates Pope John Paul II with street co-naming


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Several Queens organizations found their own way to honor Pope John Paul II, three weeks before his canonization as a saint.

A portion of the street on which Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth resides on 56th Road was co-named Pope John Paul II Way in a ceremony Sunday.

The co-naming is the brainchild of the Polish American Congress and the Jewish Historical Society of Queens, and was sponsored by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.

“Pope John Paul II’s long ministry connected people from every nation and helped make the world a more peaceful place,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who represents Maspeth. “Pope John Paul II touched the lives of billions, and now all Queens residents will be reminded of his legacy for generations to come.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

As a cardinal in 1969, the pope visited Holy Cross for a couple of days, using his birth name Father Karol Józef Wojtyla.

Members of the organizations said it was Pope John Paul II who strengthened Jewish and Catholic ties because his visit to a synagogue in 1986 was the first for a pope since biblical times.

“John Paul has been a close friend of the Jewish people,” said Frank Milewski, president of the Polish American Congress. “His extension of friendship as pope to the Jewish community when he visited a synagogue in Rome was a momentous time for the Catholic and Jewish relations.”

Pope John Paul II’s papal leadership was from 1978 until his death in 2005.

 

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Pope John Paul II to be recognized in Maspeth street co-naming


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

As Pope John Paul II is about to be canonized a saint, some Queens groups are planning to celebrate his legacy in their own way.

The street on which Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth resides, 56th Road, will be co-named Pope John Paul II Way in a ceremony on April 6, three weeks before the canonization.

The co-naming is the brainchild of the Polish American Congress and the Jewish Historical Society of Queens, and was sponsored by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

As a cardinal in 1969, the pope visited Holy Cross, using his birth name Father Karol Józef Wojtyla.

Members of the organizations said it was Pope John Paul II who strengthened Jewish and Catholic ties because his visit to a synagogue in 1986 was the first for a pope since biblical times. 

“John Paul has been a close friend of the Jewish people,” said Frank Milewski, president of the Polish American Congress. “His extension of friendship as pope to the Jewish community when he visited a synagogue in Rome was a momentous time for the Catholic and Jewish relations.”

Pope John Paul II’s papal leadership was from 1978 until his death in 2005.

 

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Ridgewood newsstand razed, problems persists across street


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

One long-standing Ridgewood problem down, and one more to go.

The troublesome newsstand on Metropolitan Avenue near Fresh Pond Road, which had been an eyesore in the community, attracting garbage and graffiti for more than two decades, has finally been taken out of sight.

The MTA/LIRR, which owned the land, demolished it on Friday with $100,000 allocated from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

“After long delays from both the DOT (Department of Transportation) and LIRR, I am happy to see persistence pay off,” Crowley said.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

Crowley called a press conference in 2009 with Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller to announce that they would remove the structure, and transform the space into a community garden.

But those promises were derailed due to complications with the LIRR and the DOT, which both have rights to the property.

The city was reluctant to have any work done in the area, according to Crowley, because of the renovations on the nearby bridge on Metropolitan Avenue.

Community leaders appreciate that the site has finally turned a corner, but now they want elected officials to focus on the other problem — literally across the street.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

The DOT assumed control of the abandoned gas station on Metropolitan Avenue across from the newsstand site several years ago, but the property has also attracted graffiti. However, unlike the newsstand, the gas station is fenced in, meaning community volunteers can’t clean it up.

“The city takes available property, because they have to fix the bridge and then they let it go,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, which has cleaned up the newsstand site in the past. “They don’t keep it up, and this is a disgrace. If we, regular property owners, did that, we’d get fined.”

Photo courtesy Bob Holden

Plans aren’t complete for what the newsstand site will become, but for now the DOT “will make it nicer,” according to a Crowley spokesperson.

 

 

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Glendale pols appeal to Mayor de Blasio over proposed homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

A new mayor, but the same old homeless shelter issue.

Representatives for Glendale penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop the proposed homeless shelter on 78-16 Cooper Ave.

Assemblymembers Mike Miller and Andrew Hevesi, Congressmember Grace Meng and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley criticized the analysis by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) in the letter and the agencies support for the shelter. The city is seeking a five-year $27 million contract with non-profit Samaritan Village, which would operate the facility.

“The reality is that the vast majority of the arguments made in the letter for building this facility were so generic and broad that they may be used to justify the building of transitional housing facilities anywhere in the City of New York,” the letter said.

Last year, Samaritan Village announced to Community Board 5 that it proposed the site for transitional housing for 125-families.

The letter by public officials points out that city shelter stay lengths have increased within the past year by 16 percent and it also highlights that the building is about 1.3 miles away from the nearest subway train and “not accessible to residents of the facility, who will need public transportation to commute to off-site linkage services, educational institutions, stores, and workplaces.”

The homeless shelter proposal is currently in its second phase of review, an environmental assessment. Some feel that the proposal could lose in that phase, because the building sits on contaminated ground.

The third and final review phase will be conducted in a financial analysis by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

 

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Environmental assessment to be done on proposed Glendale homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The fight over the unpopular Glendale homeless shelter is heading to round two.

An environmental assessment study will be done on the site for the second phase of review to decide whether to transform the vacant factory on 78-16 Cooper Ave. into a homeless shelter, after it recently received support from the Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

Some elected officials are confident they’ll have a chance for a knockout punch in this round.

“That’s another shot we have,” Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi said at a recent Community Board 5 meeting. “I believe from anecdotal evidence that the site may be contaminated. They are not allowed to build on a contaminated site.”

DHS penned a letter to the mayor’s office last week in support for nonprofit Samaritan Village’s proposal to transform the defunct factory into a shelter for 125 families, with a contract valued at $27 million.

Elected officials and Glendale residents attended a public hearing on Thursday in Manhattan to reiterate their opposition to the possible shelter, because of the contamination on the site and congestion to local schools, among other reasons.

“The building was never intended for residential use. Changing this site to a residential use would require intensive remediation and expansive renovations,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said at the hearing. “Think of how much further we could use $27 million. This money could be spent repairing buildings that already have the infrastructure in place, and money would likely still be left over for improvements in current shelters and providing job placement and permanent housing services.”

The homeless shelter was first suggested to the city by Samaritan Village in 2011. A formal proposal was sent to the DHS earlier this year.

If the proposal passes the environmental assessment round, then it will go to the Office of the City Comptroller for financial review for the third and final phase.

 

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Incumbent Elizabeth Crowley comes out on top after tough challenge


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley will return to the City Council after overcoming a stiff challenge from candidate Craig Caruana.

The councilmember celebrated the win with supporters and family members at her victory party at Woodhaven House in Middle Village, after the race initially seemed close.

“This has been a long campaign, but the people of the 30th council district have spoken tonight,” Crowley said, “and guess what? They want to send me back to city hall.”

Crowley won nearly 59 percent of the vote, according to early polling numbers, while Caruana took about 41 percent, a gap of approximately 3,000 votes.

Crowley has served District 30, which encompasses Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood and parts of Woodhaven and Woodside for nearly four years, tackling issues from education, traffic and preventing firehouse closures.

The race against Caruana was initially one sided in the incumbent’s favor, but following an endorsement from mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and a feisty debate, Caruana, a political newbie, gained some traction.

“[Caruana] ran a good campaign,” Crowley said. “ I think that when you have a challenge it makes you work harder.”

Early results from polling sites showed Crowley only leading by about five percent, but that number gradually started to expand. Now with the election behind her she plans to get back on track with key issues.

“I want to improve transportation,” Crowley said. “Queens is growing and so is the 30th council district.”

Caruana, who was confident he could unseat Crowley, conceded and talked to his supporters at Collony’s Corner in Maspeth.

“There are serious losses that you take in life and this isn’t one of them,” he said. “If you expend yourself in fighting for something that you really believe in and you expend yourself sometimes in struggle, especially what you put your heart into, you can’t lose.”

 

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Forest Park Carousel honored in landmarking ceremony


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Eric Yun

Elected officials, residents and members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) held a ceremony to commemorate the designation of the Forest Park Carousel on Monday.

To honor the new landmark, the LPC unveiled a plaque, which states the history of the century-old carousel and its designer, Daniel Muller.

“Preserving our history strengthens our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “I was proud to work with the LPC, the Parks Department, and community advocates to ensure this historic carousel continues to be a treasure for future generations.”

The carousel was shuttered from 2008 to 2012, but last year, New York Carousel Entertainment LLC, which also owns the carousel in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, decided to buy and revitalize it.

The LPC made the classic Woodhaven ride a city treasure and ensured its preservation with a unanimous 8-0 vote on June 25.

The carousel, which was brought to Forest Park in 1973, is comprised of 49 horses, a lion, a tiger, a deer, and two chariots arranged in three concentric circles, all carved with great attention to detail. There are also paintings depicting settings in Woodhaven and other parts of Queens.

“It’s taken an enormous amount of well-deserved dedication and work over the past 40 years to save this exquisitely carved carousel,” said LPC Chair Robert Tierney. “It’s an incredible work of American folk art that was manufactured by a firm that was celebrated for its highly realistic work and attention to detail, and I’m delighted it will be protected for generations to come in one of the most picturesque settings in New York City.”

 

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Elizabeth Crowley, Craig Caruana face off in heated District 30 debate


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The first public debate between Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Craig Caruana was contentious.

The competitors faced off in a heated exchange on Monday. It was marked by frequent interruptions, yelling on both sides and cheers and jeers from attending residents of District 30, which includes Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Glendale, parts of Woodhaven and Woodside.

The debate, which The Courier co-hosted, was organized by the Juniper Park Civic Association at Our Lady of Hope in Middle Village.

The showdown exploded from the very first question, which was about the Knockdown Center, a controversial arts hall in Maspeth that has hosted parties and is seeking a liquor license.

Crowley, who is in support of the center, said it will bring jobs and arts to the community.

“Do I support good jobs? Yes. Do I support arts as an economic engine? Yes,” Crowley said. “Now my opponent you will hear opposes this, and I believe it’s because he doesn’t have the ability to think outside the box when it comes to creating jobs.”

Caruana doesn’t believe the center will be used for arts, but as a club based on past parties that it has held.

“It’s not about jobs, it’s about hipsters coming from out of the area, creating a problem…” Caruana said. “This is a club that wants to sell liquor.”

The candidates sparred on various contentious projects in the community, such as the proposed Glendale homeless shelter, truck traffic and the Maspeth Bypass, the Ridgewood Reservoir development project and increased railroad garbage.

Many general questions were asked as well, including how the candidates would improve education, traffic problems, quality of life issues and decrease crime.

Crowley, who has been the councilmember for nearly four years, choose to answer questions based on her accomplishments, while taking jabs at Caruana.

Caruana, who has no experience as an elected official, stuck to his ideas to improve the neighborhood, relying on his background as a native of Middle Village and his work at the Pentagon.

Before the debate even got started crowds of Crowley and Caruana supporters were chanting at each other outside with placards, banners and megaphones for almost 20 minutes.

 

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P.S./I.S. 87 in Middle Village unveils $20 million extension


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

A new $20 million extension to P.S./I.S. 87 in Middle Village was unveiled in a ribbon cutting grand opening ceremony on Tuesday, October 15.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, officials from the Department of Education and parents were in attendance at the event to celebrate the new addition, which will add 120 seats in four classrooms, a new gym with basketball courts, a new main office, an elevator and various bathrooms.

 

“It was always frustrating having so little space to move around in. This took a toll on all of us,” said 8th grader Julian Kilichowski, the student government chair. “The new generations of Middle Village students will enjoy the beautiful new space that we have been granted.”

 

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Ridgewood Reservoir reopens after renovations


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The Ridgewood Reservoir has been resurrected.

A crowd of politicians, civic leaders and members of the community oversaw the reservoir’s grand opening on Tuesday, which heralded the completion of phase one of the site’s revitalization plan.

The nearly $7 million renovation included construction of new fencing, lighting, repaving of pathways and the addition of a handicap-accessible ramp.

“This is a historic spot for Queens and more importantly the Ridgewood community,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “It’s a natural resource that many didn’t know about because it wasn’t accessible. Now it’s more accessible.”

The reservoir, situated near the Brooklyn-Queens border in Highland Park, was used to supply water to Brooklyn starting in the 1850s. Three basins make up the more than 50-acre space, which was officially decommissioned in 1990, according to the Parks Department.

The plan to revitalize the reservoir started in a few years ago as a part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative.

Representatives from the Department of Parks and Recreation presented three concepts of a master plan for the reservoir at a public meeting hosted by the Park Services Committee of Community Board (CB) 5 on June 27.

The presentation showed dramatic changes to the reservoir to allow more people to enjoy the green space.

In the first concept plan presented, the public will only have access to the third basin, while the other basins will be locked and opened only for maintenance. There will be stone paths weaved through basin three and the gatehouse between basins one and two will be restored and turned into a ranger station. There will also be viewing platforms around basin two, where a large pool of water currently sits.

The second plan includes all modifications from the first, but adds access to the first basin. A rock climbing wall and a meadow area will be placed in basin three, a boardwalk in basin one and a boat dock in the second basin.

The final concept features the most access. This plan will contain all the mark-ups of the first two plans, plus baseball fields, a comfort station and a waterworks-themed adventure playground in the third basin.

Despite the ideas to renovate the reservoir, many people in community are opposed to a complete transformation of the site.

“What we see as wetland portions, we’d like them to be preserved that way,” said Vincent Arcuri Jr., chair of Community Board 5.

There is no money allocated to the master plan as yet and current ideas have to be reviewed and presented to the community board again.

 

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Maspeth residents and leaders are split over arts center


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Knockdown Center/Ariana Page Russell

Maspeth leaders and residents are ready to rumble over the Knockdown Center.

The center, a former glass and door factory turned arts hall, has hosted everything from weddings, Tiki Disco parties and even a mini-golf art exhibition since last year. Now, owners are applying for a license from the State’s Liquor Authority (SLA) to serve alcohol for future events at the 52-19 Flushing Avenue site.

But the center has recently come under fire from local leaders and residents, including Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, Senator Michael Gianaris, City Council candidate Craig Caruana and civic organizations, such as Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET).

“Bringing the arts to our neighborhood is good, but it’s a terrible idea to allow a club to serve alcohol to 600 to 5,000 people at dance parties, raves and concerts right across the street from residents’ homes,” Caruana said.

The industrial castle-like building in which the Knockdown Center operates is more than a century old.

Owners redid some of the inside and installed new windows, but kept most of it original so as to preserve the structure.
The immediate neighborhood consists of other manufacturing buildings and residential apartments.

Musical events will be held in the center and owners plan to host a flea market every Sunday  from Oct. 20. Some feel the facility has potential.

“I’m not against it right now as it stands,” said Anthony Nunziato, chair of civic group Maspeth-Middle Village Task Force. “I like the structure. I just want to make sure it’s workable in the community. It’s a place that’s been vacant in the community for years. By right, they can take it down and turn it into condos.”

Gary Giordano, Community Board 5 district manager, said as of last week he had not received any complaints of past Knockdown Center events. Giordano did say that owners may need to take into account transportation, security and respect for the community for future events.

The center, which officials said has been operating under temporary permits, is in the process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy from the Department of Buildings. Max attendance at past events was about 800 people, said Tyler Myers, Knockdown Center manager, but owners estimate it can hold 8,000 people.

“We are working with them to discover what a workable capacity would be for the building that we would also feel comfortable operating,” Myers said. “I think the Knockdown Center represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring something really unique and really special to Maspeth certainly, but also the New York community at large.”

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who also represents Maspeth, is in full support of the center, saying that it could bring economic growth.

“Manufacturing has been moving out of that area, a lot of those buildings are just warehouses and are not producing many jobs,” Crowley said. “I only see that it brings a benefit in creating good jobs.”

 

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Community leaders trash railroad garbage expansion plan


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Residents and community leaders are trashing a company’s plan to increase garbage export from Long Island through their neighborhoods.

One World Recycling, which processes garbage in Lindenhurst, Long Island that is hauled by New York and Atlantic Railway through tracks in Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale, has applied to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to nearly triple its output from 370 tons of garbage per day to 1,100 tons.

“We’re going to have garbage all day and all night, that’s how we see it,” said Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES). “We’re not happy about it.”

After One World applied, the community of Lindenhurst rejected the idea during a public hearing period that ended on August 16. But following procedure, the DEC has until 90 days after that date to review the application and make a decision.

With just about a month remaining until the deadline, community leaders in Queens are worried the DEC will make the wrong choice and plan to meet with agency officials to work towards a solution.

“The potential expansion of the One World Recycling Center in Lindenhurst raises numerous concerns,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi. “I have signed onto a letter with my colleagues to the Department of Environmental Conservation urging them to deny this expansion, and I am having conversations with the DEC about this specific proposal.”

The trains wake up residents when they move through the night and some sit on tracks for hours with uncovered cars, which cause the stench of garbage to flow through the community, say locals.

The trains, which are owned by the state and licensed to New York and Atlantic, are outdated and discharge pollutants, according to area leaders. Earlier this year Hevesi, along with various elected officials, was able to get the state government to allocate nearly $3 million to retrofit a new engine for one of 11 locomotives, which will reduce the impact of gases in the community.

But the problem of garbage traveling through these communities has annoyed residents for years. It stems from the state increasing rail usage to cut down on truck transportation of garbage to relieve vehicle traffic and emissions.

“Everyone wants to get the trucks off the road, but it’s taking a problem from one area, mitigating it, and putting it in another area,” said Glendale resident Thomas Murawski. “You’re maybe solving part of the problem, but you’re not solving the whole problem.”

While they don’t want the One World expansion, CURES also wants the train cars covered to prevent the smell and hopes the state upgrades all the trains to new engines to cut down on pollutants.

“It’s not a matter of them being our enemies,” Parisen said. “If rail is the way of the future we want them to be responsible.”

Numerous emails and calls were made to One World Recycling but a company representative failed to reply.

 

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Crash near Maspeth school prompts talk of safety improvements


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

While on a safety tour around Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School, one parent suddenly said, “You don’t even see the sign that there is a school here. It’s hidden behind a tree.”

Another joined in and said “the ‘school x-ing’ [markings] have faded away.”

The parents were walking around the street, pointing out issues following last week’s accident when an SUV jumped the curb and injured five students of nearby I.S. 73.

“We have to do something about it, this can’t fall on deaf ears,” said Maryann Johnson, president of the P.S. 58 Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

Johnson saw the scene of the accident and promised that safety will be a top priority for discussion at the next PTA meeting at the end of the month.

The parents got together for the tour on Monday, September 16, hosted by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. Crowley brought along Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall to see what can be done to improve safety in the area.

“Some of the things that they were asking for are slower speeds and more signs for drivers,” Hall said.

The three grade schools in the area, I.S. 73, P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School, are only a few blocks from each other and because Grand Avenue is a busy, narrow commercial strip, it presents danger to hundreds of children, parents said.

Parents also believe that other “stubborn” parents are partly to blame. They said that some speed into the area quickly because they are running late, and others illegally double and sometimes triple park to let children off. This adds to the congestion created by numerous vehicles already in the area.

Crowley suggested turning the area into a Slowdown Zone so cars go only 15 to 20 mph. The politician has also been fighting to remove Grand Avenue from the truck map so rigs would stop traveling down the skinny street. She has also advocated to convert nearby 70th Street to a one-way.

“I have two kids in local schools,” Crowley said. “I want to make sure that all parents don’t have to worry about their kids going to and from school.”

 

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Cops put the brakes on illegal truck activity in southwest Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The 104th Precinct recently conducted a Truck Enforcement Operation that stalled about 80 law-breaking vehicles.

The precinct directed the program within neighborhoods it oversees — Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Glendale. Some streets in these areas are notorious for truck traffic, such as Grand Avenue in Maspeth, where local civic leaders and elected officials have been fighting to reduce law-breaking truckers that try to avoid delays on the Long Island Expressway and cruise down residential streets.

“I am grateful to Captain [Christopher] Manson and the 104th Precinct for the recent effort at enforcing illegal truck activity,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “Working together, we have made great strides at reducing truck traffic in Maspeth, and we need to continue keeping this as a priority.”

The operation was conducted from August 6 to 9 because of the rise in truck accidents from July 8 to August 4. During that time 36 truck accidents were recorded by the precinct, which is double when compared with the same period last year.

Representatives of the precinct didn’t know what the cause of the rise was, but said that the majority of the accidents involved minor property damage.

“We don’t know when and how [accidents] are going to occur,” said Detective Thomas Bell, Community Affairs Officer. “We wish there were no accidents.”

Police officers were told to focus the operation on “corridors commonly used by trucks that are not designated as truck routes.”

Cops issued 50 summonses for rigs that were driving off truck routes and 14 violations for drivers who were in areas that didn’t comply with where their deliveries were listed. Eight operators received summonses for driving without a license and one was issued a summons for driving without a seat belt.

“I’m glad that they are being vigilant about it,” said Roe Daraio, president of Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET), which organized a rally in Maspeth against the influx of trucks in community streets a few months ago.

During that rally, which lasted about an hour-and-a-half, more than 250 tractor trailers of varying sizes rolled up and down Grand and Flushing avenues, an intersection that is restricted to only trucks with local deliveries.

“The enforcement helps,” said Daraio. “It will deter some of them from coming in here.”

 

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