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It’s stop and go at latest town hall on traffic

Those who have a speed bump on their block want it gone.

Those who don’t, want one −− and could the city please put in a stop sign, as well?

Traffic issues led the list of complaints voiced by residents of Gravesend who attended a town hall hosted by State Senator Marty Golden at David Boody Intermediate School, 228 Avenue S.

But the Department of Transportation (DOT) representative in attendance didn’t have time to feel special, as she fielded the complaints.

Equally vigorous were complaints about the cleanliness of the streets, as residents spoke out about trash being strewn along the avenues, merchants whose goods sprawl onto the sidewalk, and youths hanging out in a local schoolyard, drinking, “smoking something funny,” using “foul language” and making noise, according to one resident of West 13th Street, who lives adjacent to the schoolyard at Public School 97. “At night, people are trying to rest,” the man went on. Unfortunately, thanks to the teens in the schoolyard, he said, their dreams are anything but sweet.

It’s a new −− and not necessarily brighter −− day in the neighborhood, proclaimed one long−time resident.

“I’m here 50 years,” noted Rick Monzon, “and we’ve changed. I think we’re in a third world country. Avenue U, from Lake Street to West 6th Street, is a cesspool. The neighborhood stinks. People actually throw their garbage in the street right in front of me.”

Alicia Salem agreed. “I live near Coney Island Avenue and Avenue U,” she told Golden. “If you take a walk, you see how filthy the streets are. I blame the people who throw rubbish on the streets.” How do you change the scenario? “The only way is to give out enough tickets,” Salem opined. “If you do, the tickets will pay for the manpower.”

The Department of Sanitation (DOS) will send agents to the area when it has “extra manpower,” agency representative Ignazio Terranova told Salem. But, Golden said, it is unlikely the agency will be in a position to hire additional enforcement personnel. “I will make the request,” he told Salem, ‘but I doubt it will be acted on.”

On Bay Parkway, near 67th Street, the problems revolve around the merchandise displayed on the sidewalk. “There’s a new supermarket,” one woman complained. “It’s not even open and they’re selling oranges and grapefruit and watermelon. Now there are rodents in the street.”

The displays may be legal, said Golden. But, Deputy Inspector John Sprague, the commanding officer of the 62nd Precinct, promised to look into the situation, “to see how far they can come out with their permits.”

As for the traffic, residents said that cars regularly race down residential blocks, endangering children and senior citizens.

Michael Del Prete asked for a stop sign at Avenue V and Neck Road, as well as a speed bump. “Why do we have to tolerate speeding from morning to night?” Del Prete demanded. “I want you to protect my daughter and the senior citizens of the neighborhood. Children are afraid to cross the street. There have been four accidents in front of my house.”

The request for a stop sign has been evaluated more than once by DOT, said Golden. “They’ve done the warrant check and it’s been denied.” But, said DOT representative Claudette Workman, they will look again. Workman also said she ask the agency to look at installing a speed bump in the area.

In the meantime, though, residents from West 4th Street, between Avenue S and Avenue T, came to the meeting to complain about the speed bump on their street “It was bad enough when we had a full stop at the end,” one man contended. “Now, they’ve put a traffic signal in. Now, as people come down the street, they left foot it because they want to beat the light. When it starts flashing, they really floor it, and they go flying over that bump.”

The street had been repaved and the speed bump reinstalled because “people are still speeding,” said Workman.

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