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Transportation tops at Gianaris town hall

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Cars parked on the sidewalk, livery cabs parked on 31st Street near the end of the N line and the preponderance of potholes peppered the discussion at a town hall meeting last Thursday for residents of the Astoria and Long Island City communities.

The meeting, which has become an annual event, was sponsored by state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), the United Community Civic Association and Community District Education Council 30. On stage in the auditorium of PS 234, at 30-15 29th St. in Astoria, representatives from about 20 different city agencies fielded questions from audience members, most of which centered around traffic issues and enforcement in the laws in Astoria and Long Island City. The event was moderated by Rose Marie Poveromo, president of the civic.

“Really this is about bringing all the agencies here for each of you to hear,” Gianaris said.

Most of the questions of the night ended up being taken by officers from the 114th Precinct, Dawn Miller of the city Taxi and Limousine Commission and C. Peter Goslett of the city Department of Transportation. Gloria Moloney, a member of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, said 38th Avenue near 27th Street had problems with a business which she said had many cars parked around it, some on the sidewalks, with out-of-state plates.

“When we ask them to move their cars, they get into altercations with us,” Moloney said.

Capt. Frank Tarantola of the 114th said they had been looking into enforcement in that area and had recently towed 10 cars away. But cars need to be observed in the same spot for 96 hours before they can be moved. Tarantola also said the license and registration on the cars largely checked out.

Some residents also complained about livery cabs on 31st Street near Ditmars Boulevard. City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said this is a persistent problem, and when the TLC is called out to enforce it, the black cabs are usually back after 20 minutes. He also said the cabs often double park without repercussions, but residents who double park because they cannot find spots often receive tickets.

Gianaris said he had been corresponding with the TLC and mentioned the mayor’s initiative for taxis for the outer boroughs.

“It’s a serious problem for moving through 31st Street,” Gianaris said.

A resident of Ravenswood said the area around 21st and 24th streets is full of potholes, which makes it dangerous when residents are trying to take groceries home.

Responding to the potholes questions, Goslett said this continues to be a challenge for the DOT after the extreme snow last winter.

“I have to tell you that this is the worst year we’ve ever had in terms of potholes,” he said.

Panelists also answered questions about hydrofracking, bedbugs and traffic around schools.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 10:50 am, October 12, 2011
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