Noisy ATVs and loud jams disrupt serenity of Highland Park and Ridgewood Reservoir: Holden

Highland Park
THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Councilman Robert Holden is calling on the NYPD to rein in excessive music and motorized recreation vehicles in and around southwestern Queens green spaces after posting videos of activity he says is taking over the area.

Videos posted to Holden’s Facebook page show large groups of bicyclists at Highland Park, on the Brooklyn/Queens border near Glendale, taking up entire lanes for vehicular traffic, music that can be heard from a distance and the sound of motorbikes or ATVs that some have said drive erratically and dangerously.

“The parking lot by Highland Park, off Vermont Place, needs to be better patrolled. The parking lot is infested with loud music that could be heard on the other side of the park near the Jackie Robinson Parkway,” Holden said. “Also looping in the NYPD 75th Precinct as there are gangs of ATV/motorbikes and bicyclists terrorizing drivers and pedestrians along Highland Boulevard. Imagine what it’s going to look/sound like when it gets warmer? Something needs to be done about this area.”

Megan Lalor from the Parks Department said they are aware of the issue having already implemented more night watches and are planning meetings with NYPD to abate the issue.

“Parks is actively exploring measures to discourage the use of ATVs in this area,” Lalor said. “Parks Enforcement has added some night patrols recently to check the parking lot and surrounding area, and we are planning a joint meeting with the local police precincts to discuss a strategy for addressing the noise and vehicle issues.”

Some residents chimed in that the issue was something that had not only caused a disturbance to their activities in the park but had even put the lives of their families in danger.

“The ATVs ride also around INSIDE THE RESERVOIR (on the paths) in addition to Highland/Vermont. My kids and I almost got wiped out there when a group of ATVs came around a corner at high speed. The reservoir is a place that’s supposed to be leisurely and serene, not terrifying and deadly,” one commenter wrote.

Grzegorz Gorski, a resident, said the recklessness of recreationists had caused him off the road as ATVs in large numbers drive on the wrong side of the road.

“The ATVs are out of control in that area especially in the summer,” Gorski wrote. “Large groups ride in packs and drive into oncoming traffic, where I’ve been forced to pull over with my minivan of children. The group activity amounts to lawlessness.”