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Forgotten In Midville

Neighbors Say Traffic Woes Unaddressed

Traffic problems in the southern section of Middle Village have made life unbearable for a number of residents who came to last Thursday’s (June 21) meeting of the Committee of Organizations of Precinct 104 (COP104) to ask police to take corrective action.

Traffic issues and other quality-of-life problems in southern Middle Village were addressed by Capt. Michael Cody (seated at center), commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, during the June 21 meeting of the Committee of Organizations of Precinct 104 (COP104) at Bel Mondo Restaurant in Middle Village. Seated with Cody at the dais are (from left to right) Juniper Park Civic Association First Vice President Lorraine Sciulli, COP104 President Barry Nisenson, Lt. James Lombardi, the 104th Precinct’s special operations coordinator, and P.O. Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit.

During the session at Bel Mondo Restaurant in Middle Village, the commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, Capt. Michael Cody, was informed by residents about two local construction companies which have allegedly blocked area streets with their vehicles.

Leading the way was Jerry DeStefano, who charged that tractor trailers have “taken over” a block of 74th Street between 69th Road and 70th Avenue “every single day.”

“The other day we had two trailers took over the street, shut down the street for 5 1/2 hours,” he said. “They start work at six o’clock. According to the law, you can’t start work until seven o’clock. … They block the driveway; they put their trucks on the sidewalk.”

“Something has to be done,” DeStefano added. “They’re ruining the neighborhood.”

Though area residents have contacted the police and Community Board 5 about the condition, DeStefano claimed, “no one gets a ticket.”

In the past week, Cody said, the 104th Precinct visited the location and issued tickets to the contractors for various violations. He also stated that the command would regularly visit the location to prevent future traffic problems from recurring.

“We’ll go to work over there,” he said, noting that he would dispatch the 104th Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit to speak to the companies’ management and advise them of the law. “We’ll try to shut down [the problems] as best we can.”

DeStefano also asked for help in getting traffic to slow down on 69th Road between 73rd Place and 80th Street. He told Cody that the roadway is regularly used by drivers as a bypass to Metropolitan Avenue, and vehicles “speed down there like nobody’s business.”

He pointed out that the street was the site of a serious school bus accident in December 2009 in which nine preschool students were injured when their ride overturned at the corner of 69th Road and 75th Street. Though the community has appealed to Board 5 and the city’s Department of Transportation for the installation of speed bumps along 69th Road, the resident claimed that the requests have been denied.

“We asked for speed bumps, a light, a stop sign. We get nothing. The speed is unbearable,” he said. “We’ve got children that can’t even play there.”

While pledging that the 104th Precinct would look into speeding along the roadway, he urged DeStefano and other Middle Village resiresist dents to “keep the pressure” on city officials the support the installation of speed bumps on the strip.

Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA), noted that he brought the issue up to Maura McCarthy, the DOT’s Queens borough commissioner, during Board 5’s Transportation and Public Transit Committee meeting in Maspeth last Tuesday, June 19. According to Holden, Mc- Carthy informed him that the agency turned down a speed bump near the corner of 69th Road and 79th Street since there are many driveways on the block.

“We need to find another location where it could be installed,” Holden said.

Other news

Overall crimes were up slightly over the 28-day period that concluded on June 17, Cody reported to residents. Approximately 144 incidents were tallied by the 104th Precinct, up six from the number of crimes which occurred at the same time in 2011.

Robberies and felony assaults dropped during the period, but burglaries, grand larcenies and auto thefts all rose. So far in 2012, the command is down by less than one percent in all major crimes, he added.

The captain noted that the precinct recently made an arrest of a prolific burglar charged with breaking into homes across Maspeth and Middle Village as well as residences in Woodside and Glen Oaks. As reported in the Times Newsweekly, in each of the incidents, the perpetrator made his way inside the home through an unlocked door or window, in many instances while residents were inside sleeping.

Cody reminded homeowners to secure their doors and windows in order to keep crooks out. Air conditioners installed within open windows should also be properly secured to prevent burglars from pushing the devices inside, he added.

With 38 additional officers assigned temporarily to the precinct, the captain stated that they would be primarily used to beef up daytime patrols around the command’s confines. Additional patrols will also be on hand for the Fourth of July to prevent illegal fireworks displays, he added.

Another Middle Village resident also asked the captain to take action to prevent trespassers from entering All Faiths Cemetery along 73rd Place near 69th Road. The resident claimed that a fence along the property had been knocked down and that he observed individuals-ranging from homeless individuals to teenagers- entering and leaving the graveyard while it was closed.

Cody stated that the precinct would look into the situation.

For additional information about the next COP104 meeting, call 1-718-651-5865.

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