Abandoned cars given boot

Morris Parker Alan Lindenberg and Senator Jeff Klein hope derelict cars such as this Jaguar are taken off the streets.
Photo courtesy of Sen. Jeff Klein's Office

Consider Alan Lindenberg as Morris Park’s neighborhood watchman.

His longtime quality of life crusade has helped impound four derelict vehicles off residential streets, some of which have stood legally parked there for weeks or months.

But legally parked or not, Lindenberg grew fed up noticing Morris Park turned into a dumping ground.

“None of this has been easy, I’ve been working on this for three years,” said Lindenberg, a retired city mechanic supervisor whose daily routine involves neighborhood strolls, taking stock over the number of cars left virtually abandoned.

He’s found four cars peppered around the residential neighborhood at Lurting Avenue, Hone Avenue, and Colden Avenue.

For every car he’s found, Lindenberg’s often noticed an expired inspection or registration sticker such as a Jaguar XJ6 with a Massachussets registration sticker scraped off that’s been mysteriously parked on Sackett Avenue for years with no one claiming ownership.

“The police should have picked this car up already,” said Lindenberg.

So why leave a parked car in Morris Park?

“A lot of streets on the Four-Nine Precinct are not alternate side and don’t have meters, so a lot of people do leave their cars there,” said Deputy Inspector Lorenzo Johnson, who’s received numerous complaints on the matter.

Under the law, Johnson has to wait seven days after receiving a complaint of a deserted vehicle before taking action.

“What my guys do is they mark the car and if it doesn’t move, then they tow it,” said Johnson, who dismissed claims that most cars are “abandoned.”

In some cases, vacant vehicles belong to neighbors who aren’t ready to give up their jalopies to charity.

But Johnson noted that outsiders are mainly responsible since they’re aware that some Morris Park nabes are free from alternate side regulations. That also leaves neighbors often having to circle looking for an open parking spot.

“When the hospital’s going full blast during the week, parking is a premium here,” said Lindenberg, who lives near Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “So you figure if you can alleviate some of the problems…it makes it easier for the community to park.”

Despite Lindenberg’s 311 complaints, pleas to Community Board 11 and the 49th Precinct, the cars were still left there until after he took his community gripes to the Morris Park Community Association at a September meeting.

An aide from Sen. Jeff Klein’s office heard his concerns and took on the issue. Several days later, Klein touched base with the 49th Precinct Community Affairs Unit to have the NYPD’s Tow Trucks haul them away.

“When I first learned about this problem, I knew we needed to act right away,” said Klein, calling deserted cars “eyesores” that take up parking spaces.

Despite Klein’s efforts, the best solution might be to institute alternate side regulations. But no proposal has been put forward.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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