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Exclusive: CBS New York viewer blows whistle on reckless parking in Jamaica, Queens

Exclusive: Resident blows the whistle on reckless parking in Jamaica, Queens
Exclusive: Resident blows the whistle on reckless parking in Jamaica, Queens 02:45

NEW YORK -- You already know it can be a challenge to find parking in New York City.

But what happens when cars take spaces not meant for them?

Well, a viewer in Jamaica, Queens, wrote to CBS New York to blow the whistle on people who create these parking problems.

Where the subway, AirTrain, and railroad converge, Jamaica Station is the heartbeat of New York transportation. But locals say getting around the travel hub is anything but easy.

"This is a quality-of-life desert, and it needs to be fixed," Community Board 12 Chairperson Rev. Carlene Thorbs said.

Parking at the station seems to happen everywhere but in parking spaces -- in bike lanes, at bus stops, and even on sidewalks, with car after car displaying MTA or LIRR work vests or placards in the windshield.

"Women can't get by with baby carriages. Children can't cross. You're afraid for seniors," Thorbs said.

A viewer who lives around the block wrote to CBS New York with this problem and did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.

"I've called 311 numerous times," he said. "These vehicles are parking in bus stops, as well and forcing the buses to now block the road to load and offload passengers, holding up traffic."

Many who live, work, and shop in the area pay top dollar to park in garages and wonder why taking space in a no-standing zone seems to be a privilege only afforded to some.

"The problem is that the city and the agencies have a 'do as I say, not as I do' type of behavior," urban planning consultant Paul Graziano said.

He says Jamaica parking has gone unchecked for years.

"Are the police going to enforce it on themselves? Are the police going to enforce it on agencies they have cooperation with? There has to be a better way to do this," Graziano said.

City Councilmember Nantasha Williams says the local council and Jamaica BID have both cited the problem but saw no improvement. At the root of the issue, she says, are too many cars for too little space.

"We do have to figure out ways for people to, one, reduce the usage of cars, and that means improving public transportation across the board," she said.

When CBS New York reached out for comment, a spokesperson for the MTA said, "No vehicle is authorized to park in restricted areas, including busways and bike lanes, unless they are emergency responders addressing safety-sensitive issues."

A police spokesperson said, "The NYPD is aware of the parking issue at Jamaica Station and are working with the MTA to correct the condition."

In the days since CBS New York began pressing authorities for acknowledgement of the parking problem, there was a new development. We returned to Jamaica Station to find a 94th Avenue bike lane newly empty, with NYPD trucks poised to tow.

With some space reclaimed for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, locals remain skeptical.

How long will this last?

We'll be back to find out.

You can email Elle with Queens story ideas by CLICKING HERE

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