Street sweeping changes provoke debate

Sunset Park residents have already welcomed a new year and a newCommunity Board 7 executive board. Soon, they may also be cheeringon a new, less frequent, street sweeping and alternate-side parkingschedule.

Come this April, street sweeping on residential streets withinSunset Park, Greenwood Heights and parts of Windsor Terrace – theconfines of CB 7 – will drop from four times to twice per week.This is a reward of sorts for the community, which achieved 90percent cleanliness ratings for two straight fiscal years,explained District Manager Jeremy Laufer.

But before the new schedule goes into effect, residents have toagree on what schedule to recommend to the Department of Sanitation(DOS) and then the Department of Transportation (DOT). At thismonth’s CB 7 Sanitation Committee meeting, consensus seemed quite aways off, at least among those present.

The main issue revolved around the effect of proposed schedulechanges to a stretch of Second and Third Avenues between 60th and65th Streets. Currently, street sweepers hit the strips betweenmidnight and 3 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, once down each sideof the block. The new schedule would simply remove one run ofsweeping, keeping the same timetable.

To some, this arrangement prevents residents from parking theircars overnight and unfairly favors businesses over residents.

I drove here for this meeting and when I go home, there [will be]no spots, said 61st Street resident Herman Caban. My wife and Ilike to go out in the evening [and with] midnight to 3 a.m.[sweeping], I don’t want to have to move the car just for a fewhours.

Long-time board member Ed Wade agreed, adding, People have tosleep and sit in their car [in order to move it in time for thesweepers] or get a ticket every night. It’s not either/or. Thishappens.

Wade want the board to request that the DOS change the sweepingschedule in that stretch to daytime hours in order to accommodatenight-time parking.

However, CB7 Chairperson Fred Xuereb disagreed, claiming that noone parks under the Gowanus Expressway on Third and Second Avenuesat night anyway, because it is so poorly lit and unguarded.

In addition, Xuereb and Sam Sierra, head of the SanitationCommittee, said the issue is moot since the change promised by DOSis not intended to affect commercial strips.

In addition, they say, locals who work at Lutheran Medical Center,P.S. 503/506, and other area institutions have submitted lettersstating that a change to daytime sweeping would result in moretickets for medical staff and teachers who simply cannot interruptclass or patient care in order to move their cars.

What bothers us is what do you do with employees, asked Xuereb.If regulations changed, it will only hurt, not help, thecommunity.

Local businesses employ the community, [which is also] reliant onthe business community, added Sierra. This is a case of takingtotal convenience to total disruption.

The issue was discussed further at the general board meeting onWednesday, February 15. For an update on the vote andrecommendation, visit

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