Debate Over Hunters Point Street Cleaning Plan Picks Up Steam

By Jeanmarie Evelly on February 12, 2013 5:29pm 

 One of the city's street sweepers.
One of the city's street sweepers.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

LONG ISLAND CITY — The war of petitions over street parking has kicked into high gear.

A proposal to bring street cleaning and alternate side parking to Hunters Point, inspired by a petition started last year, has spurred fierce opposition from some residents, who launched their own counter-petition to fight the plan.

"I have 363 [signatures], and I have many, many more that I haven’t even collected from my neighbors on my street, who are all against it," said Doreen Dwyer, a longtime resident who recently started a petition against the proposal both online and on paper.

The street cleaning plan is being explored by Queens Community Board 2 and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who asked the Department of Sanitation to come up with a strategy for the neighborhood after getting numerous complaints about dirty streets.

According to a presentation last month, the proposal would bring street sweepers twice a week to blocks in Hunters Point west of Jackson Avenue, between 45th and Borden Avenues.

The petition in favor of the plan notes that alternate side parking would help stop those who don't live in the area — which some have said are Manhattanites — from using Hunters Point as a parking garage, leaving their cars parked for days at a time.

But opponents say the plan would make parking in the neighborhood a nightmare, and would add to the air pollution from idling cars forced to shuffle around the neighborhood in search of a spot.

CB2 Chairman Joe Conley said the board has extended its time for accepting public comment on the proposal since the issue has become such a contentious one.

"There's no deadline, there's no timeline to make a decision," he said at the monthly board meeting last week. "It's still open for discussion."

In addition to collected paper signatures, the online petition in favor of the plan has almost 500 signatures so far while the opposition has 218.

Dwyer said she hopes the board will giver her and her neighbors extra time to garner support, since the other petition was started last fall and hers was launched just last month.

"I think that they should give us equal time to get these signatures. They need to stop that petition and give me another two months to get mine," she said.

It's not clear who started the petition in support of the plan. Dwyer said she thinks many of those in favor live in the neighborhood's many newer luxury condo and rental buildings, which often come with reserved parking spots for tenants.

She's wary that she'll be able to succeed in keeping alternate side parking at bay.

"We don’t stand a chance against the high rise buildings," she said. "We are outnumbered, by far."

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