The drag racing takes place predominately on Maurice Avenue between 65th Place and Rust Street.
Van Bramer and Crowley called for increased cooperation from the 104th Precinct and the Department of Transportation (DOT).
“It’s not [just] a nuisance and shouldn’t occur on New York City streets,” said Van Bramer. “This is something that can kill. It’s dangerous for the racers and the residents.”
Crowley also pointed out that the drag racing is potentially deadly. “We cannot wait until bystanders get hurt,” she added.
The council members have sent complaints to the DOT, which according to a spokesperson are being reviewed. “We’re going to continue working with DOT; they haven’t officially responded to our letters,” said Van Bramer. “You can’t in the face of a long-term problem, which is a clear and present danger for the community, not do anything.”
Possible solutions include traffic lights and cameras, and because Maurice Avenue is so wide, adding parking spaces. Additional measures proposed by the counil members include painting streets to restrict usage and adding street bumps to discourage further speed racing, according to Yesenia Gorbea, a community liaison for Crowley.
“It’s a combination of regulations to get physical barriers to stop them from racing,” she said.
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey has received complaints about the drag racing since 2002, but according to COMET president Roe Daraio the issue has been largely ignored for more than 25 years. “DOT needs to implement rules and regulation; it’s their responsibility,” she said.
Armand Czapkowski, a Maspeth resident who filmed a video of the drag racers that is now posted on YouTube, said there has been an increase in drag racing activities since the repaving of Maurice Avenue.
“The street was repaved for residents, not for drag racers,” said Bramer.
Some Maspeth residents have complained of loud noises and cars blocking their driveways, and although police arrive promptly on at the scene, the racers drive off in their cars without much reprimand, according to Margaret Heisler.
“I’m here 25 years and it’s been going on that long,” she said.
Heisler pointed out that just last Saturday there were 15 cars on the avenue, and being that most of the homes in the neighborhood are older, the disturbance is even greater. “My house shakes whenever they come,” she said.
DOT has said that safety is their top priority and is currently reviewing a recent request for speed humps at two Maurice Avenue locations between Tyler and 53rd avenues, an area that is not on a local bus route.