QUEENS — The 112th Precinct plans to put the brakes on rampant double parking around the Rego Park Center mall after a week-long "educational phase" where officers will pass out fliers warning motorists of a $115 fine for breaking the law.
Over the past weekend, the precinct was flooded with phone calls and tweets from locals about the double- and triple-parking happening around the mall, creating a major safety concern, said Capt. Judith Harrison, commanding officer of the 112th Precinct, at a Community Board 6 meeting Wednesday night.
“97th St. behind Rego Park Mall is a mess. Double parkers on both sides of street turns it into parking lot w/ nonstop honking,” Tim Fredrick (@tim_fredrick) wrote on Twitter Sunday.
The area around the mall is already congested and drivers who double park there “are really creating a risk of accidents,” Harrison said.
“If cars are double parked, triple parked, people that are trying to walk across the street can’t see,” Harrison said. “They’ve got to step further out into the street in order to make sure they can go.”
Harrison said she was not aware of any recent accidents in the area, but noted that she hopes to prevent future crashes.
So far, police officers have handed out more than 500 safety fliers to drivers near the mall since last weekend, but the warnings will turn into summonses beginning next week, she said.
“We didn’t want to just go over there, flood the area and just start writing summonses,” she said.
Illegal parking has gotten worse over the past few months, according to Tim Frederick, a writer and teacher who's lived across the street from the mall for about a year.
“People double park, waiting for people to go shop in the mall — seems like mostly Costco — and block traffic,” he said.
Sometimes people double park on both sides of the street, “making it a one lane street,” he added.
According to the 311 online map, more than a dozen complaints have been filed in the past year about double parking and other parking violations around the mall.
In several cases, the people responsible were gone before police got there, according to the map.
To make problems worse, the congestion in the area prompts drivers to honk outside his home," Frederik said.
"The honking can go on for fifteen minutes, sometimes with people just pressing on their horns for up to a minute," he said. "It makes it hard to hear myself think in my own home.”