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No parking signs spark ire

With parking already scarce in Broad Channel, residents are up in arms after the city Department of Transportation installed No Parking Anytime signs on some neighborhood side streets.

DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow said the signs are needed to give fire trucks and other emergency responders enough space to access side streets in the community. He said they enforce traffic regulations for those roads that date back about 40 years.

But Eddie O'Hare, president of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and vice president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, said trucks currently have no problem getting around neighborhood roads.

"Is it tight going down? Yes. Are there any accidents? No," O'Hare said. "We've never hit a car and the city's never hit a car."

DOT started installing the signs on some roads, mainly between West 10th and West 20th roads, in December, but "kicked it up into high gear" about three weeks ago, according to O'Hare, about three weeks ago.

"Every few years they'd put up signs and for some reason the signs would come down," he said.

The narrow roads that Broad Channel is known for make parking difficult in the neighborhood, which links Howard Beach to the Rockaways.

The community has an understanding with the 100th Precinct that allows residents to park their cars on the median of Cross Bay Boulevard during high tide or serious flooding to prevent their vehicles from being engulfed in water.

With the new signs, O'Hare said, residents may be forced to park their cars in Howard Beach or the Rockaways and take a bus to get home.

"We would be the only community to have to park in another community," he said. "What do we do with our 500 cars? We're on an island."

If the roads are difficult for fire vehicles to navigate, O'Hare said, "maybe the city should look at designing a special fire truck for Broad Channel."

Broad Channel residents have inundated 311 with complaints about the signs, he said, and the community is circulating a petition drive to remove the traffic regulation.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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