Call it a mixed blessing.
The shuttered St. Anthony of Padua school on Leonard Street — whose “No parking–school zone” signs are still in effect and snaring drivers even though the school has been closed for five years — will re-open this year, meaning that soon the parking tickets will at least be legit.
The news comes after neighbors complained to the Department of Transportation about getting $60 tickets in St. Anthony’s “school zone,” which prohibits parking between 7 am and 4 pm on “school days” — even though the “school” last saw a “day” in 2006, when the Brooklyn Diocese shut it down.
The city said it was considering removing the signs only to learn that St. Anthony of Padua church was planning to reopen the school this year.
Helen Mena says she’ll believe that when she sees it.
“That’s what they’ve been saying for six years,” said Mena, who lives across the street from the school and has $150 in outstanding tickets for parking in the school zone. “I think the church should just take down the signs — the school is closed.”
Rev. Robert Czok said that the church is “looking to have a new resident in the building,” which is near Greenpoint Avenue, but it is “nowhere near contract stage” yet. Czok said he hopes that the school would reopen this fall to serve its original mission as a preschool for handicapped children.
Mena said that even if the school reopens, its “No parking” zone is too big.
“They don’t need the whole side of the street from 7 am to 4 pm,” she said, adding that if buses need to drop students off, they should briefly double-park.
“It’s just really annoying,” added Sean Daugherty, a Leonard Street resident. “That’s where all the spots are open.”
Daugherty goes to work at 8 am at a print shop around the corner, but often has to wake up earlier to move his car. “It’s frustrating to have to get up at seven to move it,” he said.
Ludwik Kamoinka, who lives around the corner, is also frustrated.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “It looks like they just care about the tickets.”
©2011 Community News Group
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