During a Borough Cabinet meeting with community board district managers Tuesday, Marshall described a litany of offenses committed by the drivers of the so-called "black cars" that clog the residential streets of her East Elmhurst neighborhood adjacent to LaGuardia Airport. Marshall's description of some drivers' behavior was tame compared with the accounts of other East Elmhurst residents, who in the past said they had discovered plastic bags of urine cast off by drivers too hurried to stop."I'm telling you you're not doing a very good job with the black cars," Marshall told TLC Chief Herman Perez at the meeting.District managers from community boards across the borough echoed Marshall's sentiment."You need to be out there on a regular basis," Community Board 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick told Perez. She said private livery and black cars, as well as the so-called "dollar cars" that follow bus routes, are prevalent in Jamaica along North Conduit Avenue and around 155th Street and 110th Avenue. "They eat and they throw out all their garbage right by the curb, and like the borough president said they're parking in people's driveways."Perez said the commission is doing what it can, organizing targeted crackdowns, but drivers often return immediately afterwards."We're trying to allocate our resources," Perez told Marshall and the district managers in response. "But with limited resources, it's hard to be in every borough every day." Perez explained that the commission, which oversees all the city's for-hire cars, has only about 75 enforcement agents who are divided into three daily shifts.The important, if not entirely welcomed, role the non-medallion black cars play in Queens' transportation system further complicates the situation. "A lot of people complain about them, but 95 percent of people utilize the service," Perez said.Meanwhile, the problems are not limited to areas adjacent to airports, district managers said. Dolores Rizzotto of Woodside's Community Board 2 said the black cars routinely forgo a specially equipped parking lot created for them about three years ago in favor of pulling up at the meters at 61st Street and Roosevelt Avenue."I'm trying to develop a much more viable commercial strip," Rizzotto said. She said she's "got shopkeepers screaming because (the cars) are using the metered spaces instead of the (parking) area."And the city's medallioned yellow cabs, which operate with fare meters, have all but disappeared from borough streets. Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Kew Gardens' Community Board 9, said she suspected that while some yellow cabs may only be interested in lucrative airport-to-Manhattan fare, others may have been muscled out by private car services."About eight years ago there were yellow cabs at the Green Bus terminus (on Union Turnpike)," Carey said. "I received several phones calls from yellow cab drivers ... one was threatened, one was assaulted."Marshall said she hoped to organize a future meeting with the Taxi and Limousine commissioner."For years we have been plagued by black cars parking on our residential streets and throwing their trash," said Marshall, who added that she had been frustrated by some drivers' refusal to make use of parking lots available to them at LaGuardia Airport. Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2005 Community News Group
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