Used car salesmen already have a bum rap. In Queens, New York, their reputation is only getting worse. Residents have long battled neighborhood dealerships, which are notorious for disrespecting peds and public space. After years of trying to make peace, residents are now ready for a good fight. Queens local Mandingo Tshaka told the New York Times that he’d “love to see [dealerships] shut down.”
Tshaka, like many area residents, is upset by the car dealerships that have moved into the neighborhood and monopolized prized pedestrian space. Dealership cars often obstruct pedestrian walkways and sidewalks, and force those who are on foot to dodge fast-moving traffic on a busy expressway. This makes getting around town particularly difficult for Tshaka, who is handicapped and has limited mobility.
Residents have long tried to negotiate with the dealerships, but the businesses remained uncooperative. From the NYT:
“We’ve been trying to work with the dealerships for many years,” said Henry Euler, a lifelong Bayside resident and a community board member. “They don’t cooperate with us. They’re not good neighbors.”
Mark Scheinberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, whose members include some of the dealerships, said: “In New York City, there’s no doubt a struggle between businesses and people from the local community. It’s a bad reality, I guess.” He added that businesses with violations could, and should, be ticketed for infractions.
In NYC, where pedestrians rule the streets (and, of course, the sidewalks), we can only hope that Queens residents will win out over car dealerships—and drive them to either follow the rules or get out of town.
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