Al Silvestri, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Queens deputy commissioner, and DOT Borough Planner Vikram Sinha answered more than a dozen questions and concerns about traffic issues in the precinct command, including the ongoing issue of green cabs idling along the Queens Boulevard eastbound service road outside the 71st-Continental Avenues subway station; the need for stop signs or traffic lights at several area intersections and the dangerous intersection of Yellowstone Boulevard and Austin Street, just outside the 112th Precinct’s headquarters.
Several residents at the meeting placed some blame on the police themselves, pointing out that cars parked along Yellowstone Boulevard just before Austin Street, which is reserved for NYPD parking, often block the right lane, backing up traffic that has to wait for cars to make a left turn onto Austin Street. Another residents claimed that he has seen officers standing idle while obvious traffic infractions are committed
“I understand that’s a challenging intersection,” said Captain Robert Ramos, the commanding officer of the 112th Precinct, who noted that resources are usually sent out to areas where accidents occur on a regular basis.
Regarding the taxi cabs at 71st Avenue and Queens Boulevard, Sinha noted that the DOT had tried to implement several changes to deal with the situation, including putting up ‘No Standing anytime signs to prevent idling along part of the stretch between 70th Road and 71st Avenue.
“It’s definitely a problem we’re aware of,” Silvestri said.
Another resident noted a problem with double parked cars near the Rego Center Mall and asked why more tickets weren’t being written to people who double park.
“We try to give them a break,” Ramos explained. “But what usually happens is we ask them to move, they move and then as soon as we’re gone, they come back and double park again.”
He further explained that it was “impossible” for officers to sit all day and ticket double parked cars due to resources.
Turning to crime, Ramos had mostly good news to report. All major crimes have dropped in the command in the previous month, save two – grand larceny, which saw a small increase, and auto thefts.
Ramos pointed to unlocked car doors as a reason why auto thefts increased. Similar to situations in other Queens precinct commands, notable the 106th and 102nd, Ramos said thieves are walking around the neighborhoods jiggling car door handles to see if the cars are unlocked.
“These are rather unsophisticated car thieves,” he said. Once the crooks are inside the cars, he noted, they find the valet key in the glove compartment and use that to start the car.