Today’s news:

LIC taxi sign raises suspicious

An open letter to city Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy:

I am writing to you after phone calls from Rick Bernardo, owner of Bay Crane Inc.; City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s (D-Sunnyside) office; Community Board 2; and myself. There were also 50 calls made to the 311 hotline regarding a questionable taxi sign.

As you know, on Sept. 13 your department erected a sign across from Bay Crane at 11-03 43rd Ave. in Long Island City. The “no standing” taxi sign was for a private taxi company, Arrow Transportation, located down the street from the sign. After 25 years, a sign went up and those who parked there for those years parked unable to see the sign, which was situated in a position that was difficult to see. Subsequently, six cars in one day were ticketed and towed, as were others throughout the month. This sign appeared to be a cash cow for Queens.

The hardworking construction workers who parked in the six parking spots for 25 years had to arise two hours before they did in the past in order to assure a parking spot in an area close to their employment.

I was informed that all signage goes before a community board for a yes or no vote, but CB 2 knew nothing of the sign. I was told that the only signs that go up for taxis are for yellow cabs — never private car companies. When I asked you who requested the sign, you said, “Arrow Transportation.” When I asked what precipitated the sign, you said, “I did a study.” When I asked what your study entailed, you said, “I can’t divulge that info.”

You were informed that in the four weeks in which the sign went up, there was not one taxi parking there day or night. In fact, Bernardo provided you with a CD of their surveillance camera pointing to that area showing not one taxi parked there. The construction workers lost six parking spots and took photos of the six spots empty each day, but the sign remains.

One can only surmise that this sign is a cash cow since the borough president knows of this and insists it remain in place. It is suspicious that in the past two days two taxis have parked in those spots while Arrow’s parking lot is empty. Therefore, pursuant to the Freedom of Information law, I am requesting any and all studies you did prior to and after the sign was erected to determine a sign was needed on that street. I am also requesting any and all forms Arrow Transportation provided the DOT with with reasons for the need of said signage, especially since they have a parking lot that stays empty.

I am expecting this information to be forthcoming in the usual time allotted for a FOIA request and the sign to be taken down immediately.

Joyce Shepard


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