Scofflaw parents at Gravesend’s PS 216 have E. First Street on a crash course, neighbors say.
“Mark my words — somebody is gonna get killed!” warns 50-year resident Linda Wiater of the traffic chaos that unfolds when school lets out.
Wiater and her neighbors say that moms and dads descend on the block between Avenue X and Avenue Y en masse every weekday shortly before 3 pm — the time Wiater gets off work. She said the parents routinely double- and triple-park along the street, completely blocking traffic.
“Usually a car, a bus, not anything can get through,” Wiater said.
After parking on the road, the parents jaywalk to the schoolyard, according to Wiater, where they sometimes stand and chat for half an hour or more, with their vehicles preventing people from reaching their homes.
Other residents of E. First Street echo Wiater’s complaints, saying the problem is causing a significant decline in quality of life on the block.
“It’s just one big traffic jam, with horns beeping and trucks not being able to get through,” complained an elderly resident who didn’t want to give her name.
The senior said that the daily debacle makes her a prisoner in her own home, because the Access-A-Ride vehicles she depends on for transport cannot get through.
“You can’t get in or out while they’re here,” the woman said.
The parents show little respect for the street’s residents, often blocking — or even parking in — their private driveways, and sometimes preventing people on the block from going to pick up their own kids from other schools.
“They block my driveway, they pull into my driveway — they don’t consider that I too have to pick up a child from school,” said Amy Heffez, a lifelong resident of the block, who needs to collect her three-year-old from pre-school at 3 pm.
Heffez said that the police who patrol the street have done nothing to curb the PS 216 parents’ poor parking habits in the three years since it became a problem, and that efforts to speak to the parents themselves have proved futile due to language barriers.
“Most of them are immigrants, so they don’t really speak English well,” said Heffez. “I asked one of them who was parked in front of my driveway to move his car and he just told me ‘don’t worry, don’t worry’ and walked away.”
Calls to PS 216 were not returned.