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Stolen signs irk city officials

One street sign across from Crystal Windows prohibits parking along the entire street, while another affixed to a telephone pole indicates it is permissible to park on 31st Avenue. Photo by Joe Anuta
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Seemingly normal parking signs along a stretch of road in the College Point Corporate Park have actually been installed by a vehicular vigilante who rips out the city’s “no parking” notices as soon as they are installed, frustrated city officials said at a recent meeting with Community Board 7.

The responsible party has long been bedeviling the city Department of Transporta­tion’s efforts to keep cars off the streets, according to CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty, who questioned a DOT representative last week as to why parked cars have returned to 31st Avenue between College Point Boulevard and the Whitestone Expressway southbound service road.

“It’s setting a bad precedent because all of the buildings in the park are supposed to have parking on-site,” Kelty said at an April 25 meeting, referring to the zoning that regulates the commercial area and prohibits parking on all roads in the 550-acre area.

A DOT representative, Al Silvestri, told Kelty that someone had removed the no parking signs and replaced them with signs indicating that parking is legal on much of the street.

So why, Kelty asked, did DOT not simply install signs higher in the air to make them harder to steal?

“They’re ripping out the poles, Gene,” Silvestri replied.

That afternoon, TimesLedger Newspapers visited 31st Avenue, which was lined on both sides with cars.

Along much of 31st Avenue in front of Crystal Windows and Doors, not a single sign indicated whether parking was permitted. About two-thirds of the way down the street, a sign indicated that parking was prohibited only closer to College Point Boulevard.

But upon closer examination of the sign, circular scrape marks were visible around the bolts that affixed it to the post, suggesting it may have been removed from somewhere else.

Other signs that appeared to allow parking on the street were nailed to telephone poles. In one case, the sign was posted directly above a broken corner of another parking sign that appeared to have been ripped from the pole.

In order to catch the culprit, Kelty suggested contacting Consolidated Edison and asking the utility to install a camera at the entrance to its nearby facility.

DOT said the agency is responding to the request from CB 7, and will be inspecting the location again. The agency will make any necessary adjustments as needed.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 1:01 am, May 3, 2013
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