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Dollar van ‘plague’ spreads to more neighborhoods

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Dollar vans are wreaking havoc in Marine Park.

“We’re having a lot of problems on Kimball and Coleman and Hendrickson [streets],” Marine Park Civic Association President Greg Borruso said at the group’s meeting earlier this month.

The increased presence of dollar vans has neighborhood residents worried that Marine Park will be the new favorite thoroughfare for the speeding drivers. In the past, drivers preferred neighborhoods to the east of Flatbush Avenue.

“It used to be a problem in Mill Basin and now we don’t want it to be a problem in Marine Park,” Borruso said. “We don’t want the quality of life to go down.”

For years, dollar van drivers transporting passengers to and from Kings Plaza often drove down quiet Mill Basin streets to avoid traffic on Flatbush Avenue. Residents accused the vans of speeding, driving recklessly and littering streets with trash. Residents ultimately cordoned off East 52nd, East 53rd and East 54th streets between Avenues T and U to prevent drivers from using their streets as raceways.

The 63rd Precinct is currently trying to curb speeding dollar vans by issuing fines and seizing vehicles.

In the past four months, the precinct has issued 49 “regular moving violations,” Sgt. Christine Bastedenbeck explained at the civic meeting.

During the same time period, “We have issued 48 TLC [Taxi and Limousine Commission] summonses,” Bastedenbeck said. “Those are heftier fines.”

Drivers who receive those TLC violations face harsh penalties.

“We’ll seize the vans if they’re not licensed with TLC,” Bastedenbeck explained.

In the last four months, the precinct has seized 25 dollar vans, the sergeant said.

Borruso said he wants that number to double in the next four months.

Bastedenbeck explained that the precinct is monitoring the vehicles as permitted under the law.

“We can’t issue a summons for driving down the block,” Bastedenbeck said. “I know it’s frustrating and they are allowed to drive down the block, but we are monitoring them.”

Marine Park residents who have complaints about dollar vans or want to inquire about police officers’ methods of monitoring drivers should contact the 63rd Precinct at 718-258-4411.

“If you think we’re not working as hard as you want us to, give us a call,” Bastedenbeck said. “We’ll keep on it.”

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