Category: Archive

Congestion in Woodside continues

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the truck driver was waiting to deliver goods to her store. He had waited for a considerable time for a parking space on the street, which is usually double parked with gypsy cabs. When one became free, she explained, the truck driver tried to park, but was cut off by a cab driver. Words were exchanged and a fight broke out.
“By the time the police arrived, the gypsy cab was gone and so were all the other cabs,” she said.
The short block has been bedeviled by traffic congestion from the gypsy cabs and, more recently, a spate of graffiti attacks.
Locals have also reported attacks against Irish immigrants, but so far no one has come forward to attest to being attacked.
Police responded to the incidents this week. A spokesperson for the 108th Precinct said that both graffiti and the traffic problem were priorities for police, “and always have been.”
The spokesperson noted that in the 108th Precinct, officers are given a medal for a graffiti arrest, which also counts as a point toward promotion: “There is an incentive for officers to attack the problem,” he said.
However, he also said that it was important for the community to get on top of the problem.
“If they clean it up, people won’t tag it anymore,” he said. “You need constant vigilance, and paint over graffiti within 24 hours. Tagging is all about recognition, and if it’s always painted over, then they get the message and they go somewhere else.”
On the subject of the traffic congestion on 61st Street, the spokesperson said that police continued to ticket gypsy cab drivers when they were caught in a violation. He hoped that the recent solution negotiated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the local community board would work.
Last week, at a public meeting, the TLC said that a new taxi rank would be set up under the Long Island Railroad bridge.
Traders and storeowners said that they would help police the street by taking down the numbers of cabs that were illegally parked and send them to the TLC. Volunteer veterans said they would help as well.
But the police spokesperson added: “If people did not use the cabs, as many do, then they would not be there.”
The cab drivers are attracted to the busy junction where the Long Island railroad, the No. 7 subway train and numerous bus routes converge.
Addressing the incidents of violence in the area, the police spokesperson stressed the need for people to come to the police and report incidents.
He said that undocumented immigrants must be aware that they have rights, and that it is illegal for a police officer to even ask a person about his immigration status.
“Their status is not an issue for us,” he said. “They should know they can come to us. They should drink responsibly, walk home in groups and come to the police if trouble occurs.”
The spokesperson said that he was willing to go to the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Woodside and give a talk on personal safety, policing and the area. He also said that when the Woodside rapist was preying on young Irish women in the area some years ago, it took time for victims, some of whom were undocumented, to work up the courage to go to the police, and that this was wrong.
The Woodside rapist was never caught, but police sources have confirmed that the prime suspect has fled to his native Ecuador.

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