BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Forest Hills residents called for tougher traffic enforcement for the upcoming holidays during the 112th Precinct Community Council meeting at the precinct’s Forest Hills stationhouse.
A Forest Hills Gardens homeowner voiced concerns over an uptick in traffic from an influx of trick-or-treaters to the community. “Unfortunately, my neighbors have created an urban legend on Burns Street on Halloween,” he said.
According to the resident, the yearly Halloween celebration has grown significantly over the past six years due, in large part, to advertisements in local church bulletins. By his estimate, upwards of 3,000 children from all over the borough on Halloween visit his block, with many commuting by car or subway to trick-or-treat in the gated community.
The homeowner requested added police patrols in the vicinity of Ascan Avenue and Burns Street, as well as the closure of Burns Street with barricades from Ascan Avenue to Union Turnpike, in an effort to discourage the influx in vehicular traffic to the narrow street.
“We actually have a small detail of extra personnel that will be assigned to what we’re calling a Halloween detail, specifically really because it is a Saturday,” said Deputy Inspector Judith Harrison, the precinct’s commanding officer. “It’s not a school day or a school night, so you may have more people out and about, doing things that they don’t need to do.”
According to Harrison, the mobilized Halloween detail will be on the lookout for illegal behavior such as vandalism and egg throwing. “We will certainly take a look at the traffic situation over there as well,” she added.
Other residents voiced concerns over the anticipated increase in traffic around local retail and commercial strips, such as Austin Street and Queens Boulevard, for the holiday shopping season. Many cited double parking around 63rd Drive, as well as the upcoming opening of Target at 70-00 Austin St., as areas of particular concern.
According to Harrison, the 112th Precinct currently has a traffic contingency consisting of one sergeant and five officers, three of whom are solely dedicated to enforcement. Patrols will be increased during the holiday season to accommodate the uptick in holiday shoppers and traffic to the area.
Deputy Inspector Harrison honored Officer Isaac Zamor and Officer Marco Libongco with the Cop of the Month Award for their apprehension of a graffiti vandal during a routine patrol on October 12. The pair was stopped at a light when they observed the suspect, a Long Island resident, tagging a mailbox. During an interrogation at the precinct, the suspect admitted to vandalizing other locations and was charged with those additional crimes.