July 17, 2015 By Michael Florio
Car dealerships are displaying their vehicles on the sidewalk along Northern Blvd and street safety advocates are sick of it.
Angela Stach of Transportation Alternatives and Cristina Furlong of Make Queens Safer, two pedestrian safety advocacy groups, have spoken out against these dealerships, stating that this practice creates a danger for pedestrians.
Both stated that these dealerships force pedestrians to walk around the vehicles, often into the street.
“It puts pedestrians in the very dangerous position of having to walk into oncoming traffic in the street,” Stach said. “Especially on Northern Boulevard, which is one of the most dangerous streets in Queens.”
There have already been a number of pedestrians hit and in some cases killed by vehicles along Northern Blvd, including an accident that left five people injured after a Mazda sedan struck them at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street, in February, 2014. Noshat Nahian, an 8-year-old heading to school, was struck and killed in December of 2013, while crossing the intersection at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street.
While the practice of dealerships parking on sidewalks had nothing to do with these incidents, “these dealerships along Northern Boulevard put more people at risk,” Furlong said. “It is really insulting to see nothing get done.”
Furlong said that there are over 20 dealerships and garages along Northern Boulevard from 40th Street down into the 60’s.
A posting on Streetsblog.org earlier this month brought up this issue, which included photos of two dealerships, City Mitsubishi, located at 56-15 Northern Blvd and Koeppel Volkswagen, located at 57-15 Northern Blvd.
Furlong added that Paragon Honda, located at 57-02 Northern Blvd, has also been an issue.
Despite that, she said there is not one particular dealership that should be blamed.
“As long as one dealership gets away with it, everyone else will do it,” Furlong said. “They all should be targeted, not just one particular dealership.”
“The city and the precincts who are supposed to keep the cars off the sidewalks are not doing their jobs,” she added.
While the NYPD states that it is illegal for the dealerships to park cars on the sidewalk, Stach states that it is more an issue of enforcement.
“The police need to enforce these laws,” she said. “Officers have to ticket or even tow the vehicles for the dealerships to stop.”
Furlong agreed, stating that she asked a worker at the Paragon Honda dealership if they have ever been ticketed for parking cars on the sidewalk. She said the worker replied that they are “allowed to park on the sidewalk, because they are a dealership.”
Stach said she encourages residents to attend both the 108 and 115th precinct’s monthly meetings and speak out against the dealerships taking up sidewalk space.
Stach said she brings up the issue when she attends these meetings, but needs more residents to do the same, stating that if residents put pressure on the cops, they will take action.
She added the other way residents can help is by becoming involved with groups such as Transportation Alternatives and Make Queens Safer.
The dealerships mentioned did not respond to requests for comment.