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LIC duo duke it out over garbage

March 25, 2013 By Bill Parry

The battle over alternate side of the street parking is getting dirty.

Members of the Long Island City group that opposes alternate side of the street parking (for street cleaning) paid a surprise visit to the office of the leading advocate for the measure.

Doreen Dwyer, a Hunters Point resident who wants the measure quashed, said that property owners are keeping the streets clean and that there is no need for street cleaning. She said it is people like Dr. Moitri Savard, the leader calling for street cleaning, who are contributing to the mess.

Savard began circulating a petition last year calling for alternate side parking to facilitate proper cleaning of the streets in Hunters Point.

Savard’s movement was spurred on by Super Storm Sandy, when garbage blocked the drains in the streets, leading to severe flooding. She said that the Department of Sanitation could not clean the area since cars were parked over the drains.

Community leaders have been receptive to Savard’s plan, with the Sanitation Department even detailing the streets and hours of cleanup.

When Savard, whose petition has generated hundreds of signatures for the measure, spoke at a town meeting in January she made herself vulnerable to criticism from a significant portion of the local population: longtime residents. Many of these residents were not aware of her efforts until that meeting.

Dwyer and her group were caught off guard then, but they have been proactive since, arguing that property owners are keeping the neighborhood clean, and that alternate side parking would lead to pollution. They have put together an opposing petition with hundreds of signatures.

On Friday, Dwyer and a small mob of community activists came to Savard’s medical practice at 5-31 50th Avenue armed with rakes and brooms. Dwyer wanted to make a point to Savard that she should clean up outside her own office, thereby avoiding the need for street cleaning.

Dwyer claimed that the street in front of Savard’s Queenswest Health and Wellness facility is one of the filthiest in the neighborhood. She said the neighborhood is generally clean, citing city statistics that rate the area in the 92nd percentile for cleanliness.

“Check out this mess,” said Dwyer. “Look at all the leaves: that proves it hasn’t been tended to in months – leaves don’t grow during the winter.”

After 20 minutes of work, the group of 10 individuals had filled four bags of garbage. “This is the way we’ve cleaned the streets for decades, without asking anyone to move their car,” Dwyer said.

Savard was nonplussed by Dwyer’s surprise cleanup.

“I heard they did a great job,” Savard said, although she was not in her office to witness the cleanup.

Dwyer said that city law requires residents and business owners to clean the streets in front of their property, including 18 inches in front of the curb.

Savard, however, said it’s the landlord’s responsibility.

Savard, who leads LIC-ECO, a community organization dedicated to cleaner streets and a healthier environment, said she understands why some residents don’t want alternate side of the street parking. “Nobody wants the hassle of finding new spaces to park their cars,” she said.

Many long time residents talk about the old days when there were 5,000 residents in the area, said Savard, a LIC resident for seven years. “Now there are 10,000 residents, and in a couple of years there will be 20,000,” Savard said, adding “That’s a lot more cars and we need a system in place.”

Dwyer’s group maintains that alternate side of the street parking is not the answer.

Nigel Rollings, a Hunters Point resident for 33 years who participated in the cleanup, said, “The last thing we need is a huge dictation from the City of having to scramble for parking spaces.”

Diane Hendry, who was cleaning with Dwyer, said that alternate side parking would lead to cars circling around the neighborhood waiting for parking spaces, which would result in noise and pollution.

One member of Dwyer’s group, who didn’t want to use her name, suggested that Savard doesn’t understand the parking situation because she has her own private parking space.

Savard responded that the private parking space is necessary because she has two young children. “That’s not to say I’m not affected by parking. We experience the same problems when guests come to visit.”

The LIC-ECO group is planning “LIC Cleanup!” for May 11th, when local leaders will join in to clean 48th Ave. between 5th St. and Vernon Blvd.

“Hopefully they’ll (Dwyer’s group) come and join us,” Savard said.

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26 Comments

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LIC Resident

FYI,

If you are a Physician in a mixed use building and occupy a “RESIDENTIAL” apt. in that building, it would be the landlord’s responsibility to clean the sidewalk or curbside.

Your office occupies the ground floor “COMMERCIAL STOREFRONT” in a mixed use building.

It’s your responsibility to clean. Get it? Now clean it.

MG

You want clean streets? It dont look like it. You should be ashamed of yourself. Look at that other doctors on Vernon, It is always clean over there. Thank God they moved into the neighborhood.

Your man hour thing is justt silly. Use common sense. Not everyone was cleaning at the same time. They were not on the clock, and not everyone had the brooms to clean. Some were there for support. Kind of like you and your gang at the community board.

You people thought you was going to sneak this no parking thing in on us but we fooled you. You are not always right and I hope you lose this fight.

and I hope you get tickets from now on for not cleaning.

moitri savard

MG, you misunderstood. “3 man-hours” is calculated directly from the article (10 people spending 20 minutes). If that is incorrect please contact the author.

You can ask my direct neighbors and patients about whether I clean. They see me and my staff if you have not.

The majority of my patients do not drive to the office so, no I am not a part of this movement to get parking for them. I, like the rest of the street cleaning supporters would like just that – clean streets. Please feel free to contact me to discuss (718) 785-9855.

MG

I live on 50th Avenue and you lie because you do not clean.
You said you cannot get the garbage bag from under a tire. If that is true, why didn’t you clean the rest of the filth around the tires. You never clean and you are not being truthful. The dirt is there for years and you walk past it. You should have cleaned it. Did you ask your landlord to clean? I bet you did not. You left it there because you want the sanitation to do it for you.

Those people that cleaned did not clean for 3 hours, they took less than a half an hour and cleaned 3 or 4 properties. Stop tellling lies.

The truth is that you just want us to move our cars so your patients can park. Let them use the garages in the new buildings like you do. Your all big shots and expect everyone else to do it but not you.

Moitri Savard

Bill Parry’s article conveniently omitted that we clean outside of the office on weekdays. Anyone who has been on 50th Avenue knows that you have to clean constantly. The legal responsibility for a multi unit residential building with a physician’s office is the landlord’s but that misses the point. Over 3 man-hours spent cleaning a small area that is cleaned daily just speaks to the severity of the problem.

In response to this being a class issue, I think that people forget that often working class people have to use their cars daily. Many of the street cleaning supporters do park on the street and currently are held hostage to their parking spots from Sunday evening until Friday evening. Not a problem if your car is used just to get away on the weekends but it is a problem for everyone else.

The fact is a neighborhood that is used as a long-term parking lot is bad for business and residents. We have tried to discuss alternatives to weekly street cleaning with the opposition but instead of any concrete proposals we have received divisive personal attacks such as this.

In order to keep this debate positive we hope that however you feel about the issue that you will come out and join LIC-ECO on May 11th from 10am-12pm on 48th Ave and 5th St where we can come together and clean.

Daniel L

I’m a resident of Long Island City for 10 years now and I greatly appreciate not having to move my car regularly for street cleaning. This is a major inconvenience. One of the major perks of living in LIC is that we do not have to move our cars constantly. I vote in favor of residents taking the initiative to keep their section of the block clean.

Another point I’d like to make is that I think this is also a class issue. Upper class residents of LIC like Dr. Savard can afford to pay for a private parking spot in a garage. It’s ironic that the woman spearheading the petition for street cleaning does not actually park her own car on the street. She argues that she needs a private parking space because she has two young children. Well, I ask you this Dr. Savard: Say you were working class and didn’t have the money to pay for a private parking spot. Would you still prefer to have to go out to move your car every few days to look for new parking with two kids in tow? I think Dr. Savard is out of touch with the reality of working class residents of the neighborhood.

Also, I’ve noticed that there are an insufficient number of trash cans in the the neighborhood. I think that if the city placed more trash cans around the neighborhood we would have less of a problem with litter.

Let’s get together as LIC residents and take care of the street trash ourselves and save the major luxury that we have here in LIC that is the freedom to not have to constantly be searching for new parking spaces.

electra27

While it is unfortunate that Sandy flooded certain streets and houses, overflowing sewers from street garbage was not the cause and cannot be the solution no matter who cleans up. Air pollution from vehicular exhaust is a prime culprit. Milling around and idling looking for parking will only add to the high levels of pollution in LIC already documented by the EPA. If the doctor is concerned about the community’s health she would be against anything that would put the elderly, small children and pregnant women at greater risk from increased air pollution caused by even more vehicular traffic in our area. To expect the government to clean up our areas when it is our legal duty to do sends the wrong message that our environment and health is not our responsibility. We need to do our part, especially when budgets are every tighter and finances are shrinking.

Patrick A

I agree with Kenny that the caption was quite overstated. Sadly, it is what draws attention. I know that other local reporters were invited but for whatever reason could not be there.

Although I was hoping to help with the cleanup, I was unable to attend.

Their point was quite simple. The streets can be cleaned without moving the cars if the people would do what the laws require.

I seem to recall your highly regarded civic mined community member putting herself out there when stating at a PS1 meeting and/or in local newspapers something to effect that she cleans but cannot keep up with the dirt near her medical office where children keep coming in with debris in their eyes.

I walk past there every morning and it appears that she has never cleaned. Actually, when I expect company, I direct my guests away from that street because it is somewhat of an embarrassment and probably very unhealthy. It is amazing they get away with it.

I have no animosity toward the Dr. and wish her only the best, but another point is that she represents the people that signed her petition for street cleaning, then tripped in a rather large way when she forgot to clean up her act after those untrue statements.

Then, her latest statement “she does not clean because it is her landlord’s responsibility” was not only wrong but does not sound very civic minded to me, especially in her business?

The people that cleaned in front of her practice did a great job and should be commended for their efforts. They were not attacking anyone; they chose the best place in making their point. Brava!

Let us hope something is worked out soon to the satisfaction of all the community.

Kenny Greenberg

Re: LIC duo duke it out over garbage

Bill Parry’s article largely missed the point. The article framed the street cleaning event as a battle and lent power to what comes across as a personal attack on a highly regarded and civic minded community member.

The primary purpose of those who joined in was to show that they supported the idea that clean streets are important and to highlight that a different approach was possible.

It should be clear that everyone agrees the streets can use some cleaning. It is also clear that everyone agrees that parking is a big problem. Most reasonable people see compatible solutions and have worked to achieve something that is palatable to all. It should not be divisive. More important there is no justification for it to become personal.

I welcome LIC Post’s coverage of the neighborhood but feel it could do more to help the community find the best solution rather than stirring up controversy.

Kenny Greenberg
Member CB2

Gennaro

Dorreen is right that you don’t need alternate side parking to clean the streets. You should do it every morning as we homeowners did for many years. By law you have to clean 18 inches into the street and if that means sweeping under a car you can do it.

Some businesses and homeowners don’t want to make the effort and think the city should do it for them. I lived on 47th Road my entire life until moving to Woodside 6 years ago and we didn’t have any problems and alternate side parking wasn’t an issue.

Since moving to Woodside, alternate side parking can be a problem, especially when there are days where the eintire neighborhood has the same day and the same time on one side of the street and it is very difficult to find a spot if you work. On Monday it is almost impossible to find a spot. The Sanitation Department should find a way to have different times for the area it is cleaning. We have 11:00am until 12:30 in the entire area. On Tuesday it is easier since one half of the area has MON-TUES and the other half has MON-WED. It is much easier to find a spot on Tuesday and Wednesday.

If they ever decide to have alternate side parking they should have either staggered times or staggered days. Don’t have the same day and time for the entire area.

compromise

Things are changing. If no ASP this year, it’s just a matter of time as the 10s of thousands fill into our neighborhood.

If I was worried about parking spots, I would instead focus my efforts on getting the State legislature to institute resident-only parking in NYC. This would automatically increase spots as it will kick out all the out-of-town parking. You would get support from EVERYONE on this.

not impressed

The author omitted the fact that the office does clean as per the agreement with the landlord as a professional establishment in a multi-unit residential building. The fact that 10 people required 20 minutes to further clean 15 feet speaks to the unscalability of their operation. Perhaps it would be more productive if they cleaned up the dozens of illegal posters that they placed in the neighborhood that are actually contributing to the mess rather than continuing divisive maneuvers such as this.

Kevin

Ummm ok …. what gives any person the right to park in one spot however long they like. Especially when there is room for only a certain amount of cars on a particular block. When there are more then double that amount of people living on the same block. Thats just called selfish and rude !!!!! Lets see if you like my Ford Pinto parked in front of ur home for a month!!!!!!!

John Patterson

I do not want alternate side parking. I lived with alt. side parking in Manhattan. It was terrible. If LIC is 92nd percentile in cleanliness, we would be selfish to ask for sweeper trucks, when they are so desperately needed in other, filthier neighborhoods.

Notinthislifetime

Doreen is RIGHT! If you clean uplike a normal person, these problems would not happen. Alternate is not the answer.If you want to live in the city, its just across the river and we will park where we want and for as long as we want, Kevin

Anonymous

Doreen obviously has too much time on her hands– and should not be bum rushing people like a village idiot.

However, doctor savard: you should clean up.

You kidding me

Doreen and her crew are a bunch of crazies.

What normal person just turns up unannounced at someone’s place and makes a big noise about cleaning…This verges on harassment.

This is really weird. You guys need to see a [head] doctor (and not Dr. Savard).

Kevin

Alternate side cleaning is a good thing especially when u live so close to the city. It stops people from leaving their cars in one spot for more than a week !!!!!! We dont want people hogging up all the parking !!!!!!!!

Doreen

Even Super Storm Sandy was unable to clean 5-31 50 Ave.

Funny how the rest of us didn’t have that problem.

Resident

Okay, so it took 10 people to cleanup one street area to get under the cars and clean it? How many people would you need to cleanup the streets weekly?

* This is ridiculous, move your car once or twice a week and all the streets get cleaned within a couple of hours. This is a practice that most of the busy New York city neighborhoods undergo.

Doreen

This is just nonsense.

We were clean with 5000 residents, we are still clean with 10,000 residents, we will be clean with 20,000 residents. Its just who we are.

Try cleaning yourself and stop wasting the City’s money.

Nancy

I have been walking up that block for 3 yrs and that block is pretty bad. I have to agree with Dwyer about that Street being terribly dirty.

Why haven’t they been fined?

I would think a doctor would want a clean atmosphere for her patients. Everyone knows the stores are responsible for cleaning.

She probably just wants street cleaning so she doesn’t have to do it herself.

Linda

I agree, I think that our streets are clean and the City should no longer have to do it. The stores and homes already do, Otherwise they get fined. But the city makes so much money off parking tickets for alternate side regulations. They will never stop street cleaning rules.

Woodside Mom

I grew up on a street in Brooklyn with alternate side parking for street cleaning and it was a hassle. Now I live in a neighborhood in Woodside without it, and it is heaven. I can’t imagine living in Sunnyside, like my brother-in-law and son do, and having to hassle with moving the car all the time. I think the owners of homes on residential streets should be able to clean in front of their own homes without the necessity of street sweeping. That’s what I do…

Comments are closed.

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