Taking a stand: Residents, cabbies battle over parking

Brooklyn Daily
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Livery cab drivers are clogging traffic on Sheepshead Bay Road as they illegally pick up passengers exiting the subway, say residents who want them gone.

Cabs routinely park in a “No Standing” zone in front of the station at E. 15th Street, where they often form a line of five or more cars underneath the B and Q train overpass, slowing traffic to a crawl as other drivers wait for them to pull into and away from the curb.

“They’re causing traffic to back up,” said Theresa Scavo, the chairwoman of Community Board 15.

But the drivers of the cabs say they rely on the ample business the train provides so much, they are willing to risk the $115 fine some routinely receive for parking there.

“There’s a lot of people over here because of the subway,” said Singh Balwand, who’s worked the area for 30 years. “Everybody complains [that cabs park there] but I have a business, too.”

The drivers say there used to be a cab stand across the station, and the city should consider putting in another one so they can have a place to wait that won’t effect traffic flow.

“If the city gave us a place to stand, then we would stand there,” said Jamil Hussain.

Monty Dean, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said a setup for livery cabs wasn’t out of the question.

The city “will study the area to determine if a For Hire Vehicle stand can be installed to accommodate livery cabs,” Dean said.

But that likely won’t happen until the law banning street hails by car services comes off the books. A bill that would legalize it was approve by the state legislature in June and is awaiting Gov. Cuomo’s signature.

Until then, neighborhood boosters said cabs should stop idling outside of the train station.

“Cabs are just making traffic worse,” said Steve Barrison, president of the Bay Improvement Group. “They should be a little more understanding that buses and people have to get through.”

Posted 10:31 pm, October 18, 2011
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