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Simotas’ Shore Blvd Plan Sparks Petition

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Aug. 11, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

A proposal to ban traffic from Shore Boulevard has sparked hundreds of petitioners since it was announced last week.

Last Tuesday, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas wrote a letter to the Department of Transportation requesting that Shore Boulevard from Astoria Park South to Ditmars Boulevard – the waterfront edge of Astoria Park – be closed to non-emergency motor vehicles.

Overnight parking is already prohibited on this stretch of road.

“This half-mile portion of roadway provides no meaningful transportation purpose and contributes to a number of problems for our community,” Simotas wrote, citing speeding, reckless driving, drinking and drug use.

DOT officials said at the time that it is open to working with the community on the idea.

Within a week, a Change.org petition was formed in opposition to the proposal, as first reported by DNAInfo.

“Many residents take their families [to Shore Boulevard] to enjoy the waterfront view. This is a tradition that has been happening for generations,” the petition reads. “The closing of Shore Boulevard will ruin this tradition and decrease the quality of life in the neighborhood.

As of Tuesday morning, about 350 people had signed the petition, which can be viewed here.

Simotas’ proposal does have some supporters, including the Astoria Park Alliance, which said last week that a car-free Shore Boulevard would be safer for pedestrians and improve programming at the park.

Councilman Costa Constantinides, who has opened his own petition for traffic safety improvements around Astoria Park, also said a car-free Shore Boulevard “could greatly improve the area.”

Simotas did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition.

 

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85 Comments

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rita

A solid compromise is making this road one way, add a stop sign mid-park, and expand the bike and pedestrian paths. Add a light at the intersection of Ditmars and 19th, and make 19th one way as well. Cars will still have access, those who walk will be safer, and those who need to drive to get close to the water will still be able to do so. Please do keep the after hours no parking active. It has cut down on the noise levels at night.

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Jorge

As for all these people claiming that the elderly and/or disabled people who drive and park on shore blvd will have difficulty walking from the parking lot to shore blvd. I think that there should be a handicapped section (or bigger one) in the Astoria Park parking lot close to the pedestrian paths. Most people with a walking disability have canes, wheel chairs or walkers. When we go to shopping centers or city/state beaches (for example) seniors and disabled people are not allowed to park on the sidewalk in front of a store or on the boardwalk/sand to partake in an activity. There are assigned spaces to park cars for the disabled and they are expected to get to and from a place. As long as the sidewalks/paths leading to shore blvd are maintained and wheelchair accessible i see no problem with closing shore blvd and i voiced this to Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas.

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Shirley

This is a great idea…I am sick and tired of cars speeding in that area. I say close the street or build a pier like the ones that they have in LIC. As for the people that are you used to driving and parking there the parking lot is a 1min walk to the shore blvd. Most people that I spoke to that i know go to the park do not mind the street closing and feel it is great idea. That area would be a great place for the community to use.

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Kenny

Anyone who wants to see this road made into a sidewalk is a joke. Ive taken many of my girlfriends there parked by we call it “the strip” and enjoyed the amazing views with ease. Nobody wants to park in a parking lot and walk towards a bunch of cyclists and gym rats trying to make this into their gym, stampeding and being a nuisance to the calm peaceful serenity that currently exists right by the water. I will personally destroy any machines and run over any contractors who try to change this.

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Chris

Oh geez, and now people that ride bikes and exercise at the park are a problem?

Here’s a tip, don’t threaten to damage property or kill people on a public message board that can trace your IP{ address because if it happens someone will be questioning you.

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Mary

If you are coming to the park to ride your bike , jog or play go home . Parks are being quiet apparently . You sound like a completely reasonable person

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Patchy710

I think the saddest part about all this is all the “IT’S A TERRIBLE/GREAT IDEA, YOU’RE ALL SO STUPID!” comments. I’m not sure why there’s even a discussion about driving here since most people here seem to be 7 years old.

Me personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the road closed. And no, I’m not a “stupid hipster”. I’ve lived here for 10 years, and my folks for twice that. I also own a car, but opt to walk to the park. Besides, most waterfront parks in the city extend all the way up to the water’s edge. You don’t hear anyone complaining about not being able to drive up to those. Not to mention that Astoria Park offers more parking than just about any park in NYC.

That said, what one commenter wrote about shortening the road and making it a one way with speed bumps sounds like a great compromise. Same goes for 19th street.

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Townie Magic 8 Ball

Next thing you know my old lady won’t even be allowed to water the cement in her nightgown. Thanks transplants!

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Gino N.

I lived in astoria for 35 years, I still own a home there..like a previous post said, I did take my wedding photos there, I used meet my buddies there, hang out there almost everyday during the summer . I still take my children to the strip and the playground there on occasion, so they never forget where there parents came from.i remember everyone riding the hot rods and motorcycles down the strip, it was a site to see. on a hot summer day it felt like all of astoria was there hanging out.i know times change , and attitudes change , but it saddens me that people who can’t really understand what it means to us long time astorians ,are trying to take something so dear to us away.. And all these years of going down to the strip, I’ve been fortunate enough to have never seen anyone get hit by a car, thank god.

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john bland

I grew up in astoria my whole life.. iam against this idea .. people should stand there ground and not let out of town hipsters and yuppies ruin astoria .. the original astoria people need stand up for your rights and what you believe in ✊✊✊..

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John

The “original astoria people” proposed this idea previously over the past 35 years, what makes you think it’s “out of town hipsters” are proposing this idea now?

I think this issue should be debated intelligently but these claims that “yuppies” and “hipsters” are causing all this is ridiculous. It reminds we of people blaming immigrants for everything they don’t like.

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GO_back_TO_Nebraska

Just because you’ve lived in Astoria for a year or two doesn’t mean you know it’s history and can change it’s charm you bearded creep!

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William

What the hell is wrong with these people. She stated, ““This half-mile portion of roadway provides no meaningful transportation purpose and contributes to a number of problems for our community,” Simotas wrote, citing speeding, reckless driving, drinking and drug use.”
I say bullshit. It provides a great purpose, avoiding all the unnecessary traffic on the main road. What biker lobbyist is paying her? Trying to change the neighborhood and ruining it in the process. Won’t be long before they start charging people who want to park their cars in the lot.

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JP

I was born and raised in Astoria, and for over my 40 years, the strip has been a place to drive by or just park and sit in your car and enjoy the view of the city.
It is and was for many generations the neighborhoods makeout point for “coming of age Astorians” for at least the past 70 years. It was also the young peoples place to drive to to meet your friends when you couldnt afford to go out but had barely enough to put gas in your tank.
It was a place to sit in your car watching the view (no matter the weather or time of year) to continplate your life or just to think while being warm in your vehicle. The place to drive up to in your limo to take pictures before your prom, sweet 16 or wedding.
My sister experienced this during the 70’s when LIC was at Queens Plaza and my older cousins experienced this during the 50’s and 60’s. I had the pleasure of experiencing this during the late 80’s and 90’s.
Many of Astorias so called current political representatives I know for a fact have also taken part in the “strip” traditions and have memories of their own.
“The Strip” as native astorians call it has a part in the neighborhoods personal history and our representatives should not “sell out” our traditional customs and memories.

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Paul katsaros

People need to learn how to drive before they make changes. Now if they do close shore road, they haven’t realized that plan would make 21st street would even more congested with cars.

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Mike Kounas

Drug deals and speeding? What era are you living in? You’re talking about 20 years ago!

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Chris

That’s right, things have gotten better. I’ll take more resturants if that means less drug deals

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Anonymous

You do realize that you are talking about an era when ALL of NYC was crime ridden: the 90’s and Astoria was still 100 times better than what we see today. It was clean, we cared about one another and there was a community, unlike what we see today.

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Brian

Please consider this compromise to closing the street down – speed bumps on shore blvd would prevent drag racing but allow parking along the river.

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park resident

Everyone calm down! Closing shore blvd will not affect you access to the park. There is still other streets to park on as well as a HUGE parking lot in the park. What it will stop is drag racing, drug deals, and having to avoid used condoms on the sidewalk in the morning.

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Anonymous visitor

It won’t stop drug deals sorry to say. Deals will move to the parking lot. Nobody will ever stop drug deals in NYC they been trying for years to no success, same for the used condoms they will be left in the parking lot as well.

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Mike Kounas

Bull, I can’t walk that far, I am partially handicapped and who are you to deny me my right to access the park from my vehicle? You people are so stupid!!

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Gene Duffy

Nobody is denying you your right to access the Park, they just want to shut down Shore Blvd, you will still have access thru various other entrances to the park. Ditmars Blvd, 19th street, Hoyt Ave, 23rd Ave, 24th Ave just cause the want to close the strip down won’t stop u unless u drive ur car over the river from the Bronx you won’t be able to access the Park. Who is stupid now?

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Mike Kounas

Not just me, many people cannot walk the distance due to disabilities! This is a stupid idea, we have the right to park and enjoy the waterfront and nobody has the right to deny a single person that right! Focus on getting rid of the westway shelter, a real issue! If you recall this was done many years ago with disastrous results!

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James

Take all the cars on the strip and move them to the other 3 streets on the park’s perimeter. This is going to lower the quality of life around the park, not improve it.

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monica remy

Astoria Park is part of who we are. This neighborhood has changed, not for the good either. No more Mom n Pop and neighborly hellos, now it’s all restaurants we can’t afford. to live there due almost impossible due to high volume of New Comers and too many restaurants. Leave our Park alone and YOU LEAVE if you don’t like it. What makes these people speak for the majority. Bunch of sellouts i’m sure someone has plans to build something there.

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John

Crime has gone down and the public schools have gotten a lot better and that’s not “for the good”?

So while many people went to college and then graduate school and got good jobs or they worked hard to open a restaurant you didn’t. What did you do?

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JP

Crime has gone up and gotten worse in Astoria with the over development and influx of transient renters that rent for a year or two and have no connection to the community….get the facts.

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Chris

So let me understand this logic. Astoria has gotten too expensive for most people to afford. In turn all these wealthy hipsters have moved in who will pay the overpriced rent because they have the money. But they only stick around for about a year. Since they only stick around for about a year they have no roots in the community so they contribute to crime. What kind of crimes exactly do hipsters with money commit?

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JP

1-114th stats for the years mention are true (I know the stats very well.) But 114th covers a larger area then just the family centered/2 and 3 family house areas.
People from astoria in the 80/90’s know very well in which areas those murders occured. Some places were not called “the jungle” for nothing, that police didnt even go into after a certain time.
-stats are a great thing Keti, but make sure you have where these crimes occured to put it into perspective.
-the “hipsters” are not commiting the crimes Chris, but they created a apathetic/estranged community which allows others to come in and commit crimes.
Once astoria was like a small town in which you knew your neighbors, their kids, grandparents, the store owner, etc. You esentially had a town of unofficial community watchers which made it very hard for someone to come in and commit crimes. Thats now essentially gone with this new influx of “hipsters”

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John

You can see via the crime maps that crime has decreased in all areas. Are you even looking? Astoria used to be a farm, do you wish it was a farm again? “they created a apathetic/estranged community” Prove it, Correlation doesn’t mean causation. Rent and property values don’t go up in areas that crime increases.

Rent and property values go up in areas that have decreased crime. Astoria is not a small town anymore true. But to say crime has gone up is not true. All evidence points to crime going down,

JP

John, when you have to answer a call because there was a shooting at 11AM on 38th St off 30th Ave, or there was a rape in the hallway of a building at 3PM right off broadway or a 77year old man was beaten half to death for his jacket, then maybe we will talk. I actually have nothing to prove to you. I do my job and have my own eyes to believe.
People who have experienced and grown up in a neighborhood knows what it was and what it has become. End of conversation.

James

LOL are you in an alternate universe? Astoria is one of the safest neighborhoods in NYC. It’s just that every single bad thing is posted all over the internet. Oh no someone slapped around an old man or someone grabbed a girl’s ass. What a horrible place this is!

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Achilles Tsakiridis

Native of Astoria here and think less traffic and more park is never a bad thing. Park your car in your garage and walk to the park.

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Keti

I’m born and raised in Astoria, and feel the same way. There are three other streets surrounding the park, which means it will still be accessible to automotive traffic. I hope the closing of the strip reduces the amount of trash left behind by the people in their cars and reduces the amount of accidents & close-calls by reckless drivers.

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Gene

Close it to traffic!!!! You are not allowed to drive your car in that area the night the do the Foreworks in the park and that don’t stop the hundreds, thousands of people THAT WALK OVER to enjoy the night and WALK BACK HOME. Stop being lazy and leave the car home. I saw a little girl one day get run over by a motorcycle and she had to be put into a civilian car rushed to the hospital where she died. I will never forget the pain on her moms face.

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Anne Marie

This problems with these people, Mike, is that they don’t want to parent and vigilantly watch their children in a city metropolis. They want to be non-nonchalant and have them take care of themselves. They should move to the suburbs, or a farm.

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Gene Duffy

I was born and raised in Astoria 21st Ave and 24th street I know the strip oh to well I fell over the railing down to the rocks. I use to hangout on the strip plenty of days and nights BY WALKING TO THE PARK. If you are partially handicapped Mike then maybe ask the City to make it “Handicapped Accessible”. Nobody is denying u the right to enjoy the park look around and you WAKE UP, EVERYTHING IS CHANGING so get with the times and I’m pretty sure you have other things to worry about than a ban on cars driving thru the strip!!!

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James

410 supporters, including mine. LOL what a horrible idea. I will make sure to not vote for Simotas or Consantinides. We cannot have leaders proposing unrealistic ideas just to satisfy a select few.

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Melissa Wolf

Those opposed to closing Shore Boulevard
to traffic just don’t make sense. Would they rather see people die in order to preserve their “family traditions.” I knew the woman that died near here and I believe that closing Shore Blvd would improve traffic safety in the area. Children use this park and what would happen if your child suddenly decided to cross Shore Blvd when a car was coming? Think about that before you protest it. I’ve seen a lot of nepharious activity going on around there. Closing it has so many benefits that out weigh everything else. Safety first please!

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John

So all parks should be surrounded by closed streets or just one out of 4 streets.

I mean, it’s like a person gets hit by a car at 11:00pm and that’s being used as an argument to close a street during the day because of the children. How many children have been hit buy cars during the day? I feel like this is a solution looking for a problem. Why not more traffic lights or a fence around the park?

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Kara

Parks that attract DEADLY drag racing 24-7 should have closed streets. (not to mention all the scumbags who litter everywhere) Someone from our neighborhood gets killed every year because of you idiots racing all around our neighborhood. This is not your home. It is OURS. Piss off. We will do as we need to do to protect our children, our seniors and each other. Dont like it, go drink somewhere else. That at the end of the day is what is going on here – drunkards gathering on the river to drink their poison and make our lives miserable. NO MORE.

Anne Marie

“Children use this park and what would happen if your child suddenly decided to cross Shore Blvd when a car was coming?”

It’s called WATCH AND PARENT YOUR CHILDREN!!! Just because some people want to use no common sense when crossing a street and don’t want to be responsible for their kids, doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to pay and suffer for people you and your stupidity!

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Richie Morgenthaler

Exactly, Hell my 2 year old knows to stop at the curb and give me his hand, WATCH YOUR KIDS AND BE A REAL PARENT, No kid should be crossing the street on his or her own anyway, and 2nd closing the street will never stop the bad stuff that goes on Hell kids doing stupid shit has gone on forever SO GET REAL

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Tony R

Kara Im sure you are well intentioned, however misguided. No matter how hard we try bad things will happen to innocent people. What happened to that poor girl is a tragedy- but knee jerk reactions by politicians like ” lets close off the roads”..are ridiculous. Whats needed is a common sense approach to localized issues with local input. We do not need to close off the streets in order to create a safer environment. We need to enforce the existing laws and make informed decisions.

rita

Shore should remain a road. The no overnight parking has helped the noise at night problem. Maybe making it a one way street as well as 19th Street would help. The bicycle lanes could then be widened (they are way too narrow) and a pedestrian walk could be clearly marked. Too many pedestrians use the bicycle lanes because there is nowhere to walk.

Seriously, 19th street has to be made one way. It is too narrow for two way traffic. We also need more of a police presence down by the water.

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Kara

We do have a police presence by the water – it is where the cops pick up chicks. I kid you not, last summer we have a stereo blaring top decibel at 3am on a wednesday. I called the cops and walked down an hour later (noise was still happening) only to see the cops flirting with girls who were glaringly drunk.

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1toughitalian

Bunch of out of town cry babies that moved in and want to change the character of this neighborhood. That’s where all these stupid and ridiculous changes are coming from.

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Kara

He did not live here. Nor does he live on Astoria Park now. If he did, as I have for 35 years, he would know how bad it is here. And once and for all, rich people do not live in Astoria. They live in Manhattan. Enough with this “wahhhhhh the outsiders are coming” You fools sound like southern rednecks WHO CAME FROM SOMWEHERE ELSE.

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Kara

No we just want people to stop getting killed by the drag racing that starts on shore blvd (and something tells me you don’t even live down here, as I have for over 35 years. Things ARE worse). Someone gets killed every freaking summer and we have pedantic fools like yourself whining about new arrivals. Big freaking cry baby yourself

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louis fina

What I Notice Is that Most post Are From People that Grew Up in Astoria. Not the Hipsters. That Have Invaded Astoria. They DON”T Own a car They Are Young And Can Just Walk To the Park. For Many of Us Who use The Park And Can Not walk A Long Distance That Is Not An Option. We CAN and WILL Hold The Politicians Accountable. We DO Vote!!!

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John

There are three other streets. Are you honestly making the argument that people who need to drive will not be able to get to the park using the three other streets and the parking lot?

I’m not saying to close the street I’m just saying the argument doesn’t make sense.

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Mary Finn

I disagree that “it makes no sense.” People with physical limitations may want to drive down to the river. The parking lot is a good distance from the river. Your post makes me think you are young and fit. Not so with older, arthritic people who do drive down to the river and do take out their chairs to sit during the warm months.

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George

How’s this for an argument, I have lived in Astoria my whole life and I also live one block away from the park. Parking in this area has become next to impossible with all the high rise condo’s that have been going up over the years. With Shore blvd closed, all the people that once parked on Shore Blvd are now going to look in the residential streets for any parking they can find. The situation will become untenable and the people who live here are the ones who will be hurt. I also have to ad that plenty of long term residents use the Blvd for transportation. With the Blvd closed you will have a considerable amount of traffic headed towards Astoria Blvd which is already jammed with cars going toward Hoyt and towards Crescent. How many millions were spent on that ridiculous bicycle lane that cuts through the park? You know, the bike lane that goes right through high traffic areas of children by the monument? This is ridiculous and it shows a short shortsightedness on the part of the elected representatives. It’s like they don’t even sit down and go through the pro’s and cons of any of these decisions. Why aren’t the residents of Astoria even consulted? These people are daft idiots pretending to be reasoning adults.

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tony

George is absolutely on point..If they ever get around to asking the actual residents you will get real common sense solutions to the actual issues. Keep shore blvd open and make 19th street a one way street. Simple safe and cost effective.

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Joseph Patrick

Simotas and Constantinides need to go. They have lost touch with their constituents and instead are beholden to their campaign contributors……Astoria deserves better representation than these two corrupt career politicians.

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Sick of aholes in my hood

Actually, they are reperesenting the needs of the astoria park community very well thank you very much. As a taxpayer, I am sick and tired of having my neighbors KILLED by the reckless driving of idiots who think shore blvd is their personal race track (not to mention dumping ground for their drinking and picnic trash). It starts on shore blvd and spills over onto ditmars, 19th and hoyt. I am sick and tired of having these scumbgs pissing on my door step, blaring stereos and making life miserable and dangerous for those of us who live here. Or, we could just have your child get hit by a car if you want that stretch open so much. yes, lets volunteer one of your loved ones as the next sacrifice for self absorbed motorists who think they can behave however they wish. Perhaps you should take a table at Agnanti Taverna and we can watch your whole family get killed by a speeding motorist racing up Ditmars from shore Blvd. i would really like to see you suffer those consequences you jerk.

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tony

by your logic we should close off all streets to traffic..The only thing closing off traffic on shore will accomplish is to push more traffic up to 19th street where people actually live. As for the garbage thats a parks department and DOT issue. Your complaining should be to those departments for not doing their job. Im all for safety in an around the park area but banning cars is not the answer. Enforcement of already existing laws are.

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