Less parking, more bike lanes set for Shore Front Parkway

The unused land on Shore Front Parkway will be used not for parking, but for more bike lanes, after CB 14 voted on the DOT plan on Tuesday night.

A large group of locals showed up at the meeting to support more bike lanes and oppose more parking.

Civic association president John Cori was the prime mover against the parking plan.

Board members Ozzie Edwards (left) and Ed Williams argued that their communities were not in on the input prior to the vote and that many in their communities do not even know what community board is.

The focus was on Shore Front Parkway and a city proposal to place metered parking on the south side of the busy road and the debate got contentious at the monthly meeting of Community Board 14 at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Tuesday night.

After several committee and civic association meetings, the community board decided to turn down the parking plan, but accept a plan for more bike lanes to complement those on the boardwalk adjacent to the parkway.

There were actually four recommendations that came from the board’s own transportation committee.

The first was to turn down the city’s parking plan. That vote was carried with 27 yes votes to one opposed and four abstentions.

The second resolution was to reject the proposal for two bike lanes. A “yes “vote actually was in opposition to the bike lanes. There were 9 yes votes, 16 no votes and one abstention, rejecting the motion and approving the increased bike lanes.

The third was to clearly mark the bike lanes that already exist on the boardwalk. That vote carried with only five no votes.

The final resolution was to place speed cameras on the parkway nearby St. Camillus School on Beach 100 Street and St. Rose of Lime School on Beach 84 Street. That vote carried unanimously, although a number of members had left the meeting by the time the vote came up.

There was an early motion to table all of the other motions for more discussion, but it failed to get a second and died without a vote.

Even though the vote opposed the parking plan, there is still a chance that it will happen.

The city’s Department of Transportation says that Shore Front Parkway has become a “speedway,” with the majority of motorists driving 5 to 10 miles above the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit on the road.

The need, the city agency says, is to “calm” the road before placing enhanced crosswalks and new curb-cuts on the road.

Devices such as speed bumps, bike lanes and even parking calm the road, the agency says.

If the bike lanes do not do the job, they the agency will revisit the question,” DOT officials say.

John Cori, the president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, was the prime mover against the parking plan, which was supported by some in the community.

His organization took the lead in defeating the plan, which angered some other board members who live in proximity to Shore Front Parkway.

Both Ozzie Edwards and Ed Williams, officials in Arverne-by-the-Sea homeowners associations, say that their members were not asked about the plan and therefore had no input. They argued that many of their members are new to the peninsula and do not know about the Community Board.

There were more than 30 speakers, most of them opposed to the parking plan and in favor of more bike lanes.

The Dot will monitor the traffic during the summer months to see whether the new plans will sufficiently calm the speeding traffic.

Residents ask DOT for changes to Shore Front Parkway to enhance access, parking


DOT planner Casey Gorrell speaks to Rockaway residents about Shore Front Parkway on Monday night.


Gorrell said that no funding is presently available for a large-scale change to the beachfront road, but that his agency has a “tool-kit” that could make smaller changes.


Rob Schwach, who represents City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who sponsored the meeting, works with other locals marking up maps to show what changes they would like to be made.


Another group of locals works with a DOT planning expert to come up with proposals for changing Shore Front Parkway.

More than 50 local residents got together on Monday night at the Beach 93 Street library to confront the city’s Department of Transportation on the lack of movement on what they see as serious problems with Shore Front Parkway, which runs along the beachfront from Beach 102 Street to Beach 73 Street. The meeting, hosted by City Councilman Eric Ulrich, was set up to begin a conversation between the community and DOT officials on a long-sought  project.

After a quick presentation by DOT project manager Casey Gorrell, the residents broke into six working groups, given large maps of the busy road and then turned loose with magic markers to come up with ideas for changing the beachfront road to make to more usable by both residents and visitors.

By and large, each of the groups came up with the same problems and small differences in what can be done to remediate those problems.

Gorrell said that no massive funding was available for a large-scale change, but that a “tool kit” of small changes was available for a quick-fix.

Gorrell added that his agency has already done a traffic study that shows that the road is adequate for the 400 cars it carries on peak hours in the summer, but it overbuilt for the rest of the year. The study also showed that there have been three pedestrian injuries along the road in the last five years – two of them “severe.”

When the groups reported back to the entire room, it was evident that the major concern was “inconsistent entrances to the high rise buildings along the road that don’t align with the roads in and out of those buildings, causing cars to go against the traffic and make dangerous U-turns.

Parking was also a concern, and the one that caused the most contention in the room.

Some wanted more parking allowed on the parkway to allow for more tourist dollars for the restaurants on the boardwalk and those new eateries along Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

“Rockaway is now a destination,” said Glenn DiResta.  “We have to enhance the experience for visitors to our restaurants. That is our future.”

Others, however, argued that more parking would bring more visitors, crowding the beaches and locking out residents, who also have to compete for the hard-to-find parking slots in the summer.

Lew Simon, for example, wants to bring back the lane that was removed from SFP several years ago, restricting parking to one lane on the northern side of the road.

Several urged that the bike lanes on Shore Front Parkway be removed now that the boardwalk has a bike lane of its own. The removal of the bike lane would allow for another traffic lane or for more parking.

Others argued for increased crosswalks to the beach, especially for senior citizens and the handicapped.

One man who recommended metered parking was roundly but gently told “no way.”

The DOT collected the maps and the comments and promised to discuss them over the winter and come back to Community Board 14 with a plan in the spring.

Will the work be finally done? No promises except to come up with a plan that would then need funding by both the city and local politicians.



Cops raid SFP apartment, get guns and fake NYPD identification cards

Precinct gun

Police officers from the Internal Affairs Bureau show off the take from a raid on a Shore Front Parkway apartment on Tuesday morning.

Weapon DCPI

Assault weapon and lots of ammunition were part of the take-down, found in a safe in the apartment. Photos courtesy of DCPI

Police officers from the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau raided a Shore Front Parkway apartment early on Tuesday morning, arresting the apartment’s owner and confiscating several weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle and 17,000 rounds of ammunition, as well falsified documents.

Lee Bergman, 43, was arrested Tuesday morning when police discovered the arsenal in a safe in his home at 81-00 Shore Front Parkway in Rockaway Park.

Sources said that the Internal Affairs Bureau’s police impersonation unit launched the investigation based on a tip that he ordered forged NYPD identification cards over the Internet. After intercepting the package, they executed a search warrant at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Bergman refused to unlock the safe, so an emergency services unit forced it open. They discovered an AK-47, eight handguns, five shotguns, two hunting rifles and six flare guns, along with a pistol version of an AR15 that was found to be stolen from Pennsylvania. Also recovered was a fake NYPD shield and four forged police identification cards.

Bergman was charged with various felonies including criminal impersonation of a police officer, possession of forged instruments, and weapons and narcotics offenses, and numerous misdemeanors.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was in an area hospital awaiting arraignment, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.


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