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The city is preparing to remove its latest salvo in an ongoing conflict with residents on one dead−end Maspeth street over parking, but those who live there worry they will still face increased enforcement.
Four weeks ago, the city Department of Transportation installed two “no standing” signs at the end of Claran Court off of 65th Place north of the Long Island Expressway, residents said. The move resulted in several $110 parking tickets for car owners who parked their vehicles perpendicular to the fence that separates the end of the street from the backyards of the apartment buildings to the east.
It was far from the first encounter residents have had with parking enforcement on a block that competes for spaces with patrons of the popular O’Neill’s Restaurant a block away on 65th Place.
Problems on the block began about 10 years ago, when a parking agent noticed people on the block had a habit of parking their cars perpendicular to the curb to fit several in front of their homes, said resident John Caldarello, 64, who has lived on the block for 28 years.
A raft of parking tickets ensued, he said, and ever since, the block has dealt with occasional flurries of orange envelopes.
“I just want to keep everything like it used to be,” said resident Bonnie Jankowski, 55, who has lived on the block since 1980. “This is a dead−end block. Nobody’s supposed to bother us.”
The residents’ latest attempt to fight the tickets brought out the signs, Caldarello said.
“A couple of people went to court, the judge ruled against them, and a little while later, the DOT came out here and put up the signs,” he said. “They come around at 10, 12 o’clock at night. It seems the only ones who get ticketed are the residents.”
A DOT official confirmed the signs were installed Feb. 26 after the agency received a letter. Cars parked at the end of the road block an adjacent driveway, the official said.
However, a quick survey of the dead end revealed the signs only prevented perpendicular parking along the middle of the wall there, leaving margins on both sides where vehicles sat Tuesday morning.
The issue attracted the attention of City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D−Middle Village), who planned to take several residents with her to the 104th Precinct to discuss parking regulations on the street.
“With the ‘no standing’ signs and no alternative parking in the area, where are the tenants of Claran Court supposed to park?” she said.
Caldarello said representatives from Crowley’s office told neighbors that the signs would be coming down, but that they would still be ticketed for angled parking.
“We’re still going to get tickets, so we’re not satisfied,” he said.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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