High taxes but no traffic or code enforcement

by Iris Espinosa
(Mt. Vernon, NY)

Visitor Question: Why does the intersection of Fleetwood Avenue and Gramatan Avenue not have a traffic sign? Cars speed up that road and NEVER stop at the Stop sign, and one of these days someone is going to get hurt.

This location near the Mobil Gas Station on Gramatan Avenue also has a divider with shrubs and bushes which are obstructing the view for drivers to see pedestrians as well as cars, as they approach intersection. Shrubs need to be very low or eliminated so people can see, especially since it is a cross walk as well. Cars only slow down if they see a cop; otherwise they "fly" by the stop sign. Why not place a traffic light or cameras so you can give tickets to ALL that speed through that intersection ignoring the stop sign?

There is garbage along Gramatan Avenue all around the trees across the street from Mt Vernon STEAM Academy. There are cans, bottles, and other garbage. I know, I walk by that area all the time and it's just disgusting that all that garbage is just there and never cleaned up. How are we supposedly beautifying the area when you have garbage everywhere along all those trees? Why are the sanitation trucks not checking all these areas and sweeping and cleaning as they make their routes? They have brooms and shovels; they can sweep and clean all these areas on their way as they collect the garbage. Again, this is on Gramatan Avenue along two-three blocks across the street from Mt. Vernon STEAM Academy. Anyone looking can see it.

Also there is speeding along Gramatan Avenue. At night some cars speed down Gramatan Avenue like it's a highway or raceway going at least 50 miles per hour in a "30-35 mile per hour speed limit road". Many tickets can be given out along that stretch of road from the Circle area through Pondfield if you place cameras that can record license plates and drivers. This can make money for Mt. Vernon while teaching folks a lesson to follow the rules.

Last, taxes are high, yet we don't give tickets to those folks that do not maintain their property and let it look like a junk yard. We have some properties on the left side of the street (on Gramatan Avenue) after the gas station as you walk toward XXX Gramatan Avenue that are in extreme need of yard cleaning, tree trimming, sweeping the front of home fences, and cleaning. Why are the owners of those homes not ordered or given a ticket for not trimming trees, mowing their lawns, and sweeping all the leaves and other garbage in front of their own properties? These folks depreciate the value of all other homes along the block while not getting ticketed for "non maintenance" of their own homes. Can someone look into this? While rents keep getting higher and taxes as well, what is the point of paying so much to walk a few steps and see an "eyesore"?

Tax Paying Citizen

Editors Respond: Iris, usually we don't publish any question or comment as specific as this one, but we are making an exception to our rule, since we suspect you speak for many people in not only your community but all over the world.

Indeed it is a mystery why communities choose to spend money, sometimes big bucks, on "beautification" projects such as fancy paving stones while ignoring poor property maintenance on the part of both commercial and residential property owners. Cities, listen up and do the painstaking work of helping property owners understand their responsibility to the community while giving those property owners whatever kind of support is needed to get them into compliance.

Lack of traffic law enforcement seems to be a problem everywhere, and at least our very unscientific sample of places shows anecdotal evidence that it has only gotten worse during the pandemic years.

You have to tackle this, and indeed all of the questions you have asked, through political means. This means finding others who share your views about traffic lawlessness, littering, and lack of property maintenance. Then you have to present yourselves to your city council as a force to be reckoned with. Start finding out what provisions the council makes for citizen comments aloud during their meetings. Figure out who can be your spokesperson if there are time limits on public comments, as there often are. Get matching T-shirts announcing your new organization's name, such as Citizens for Better Enforcement or whatever you can come up with that is far better than that. Wear your T-shirts to meetings even if you are not allowed to speak.

Since we have a national and indeed an international audience, we won't offer opinions beyond these simple recommendations above, but we hope that you will take these to heart. You don't have to be the one making speeches, but you can be the one inspiring others to do so. Doing something about better traffic law enforcement, garbage pickup, and property maintenance enforcement will make you feel better too.

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