Bergen Beach residents disgusted by the abundance of trash being dumped in their otherwise beautiful neighborhood have demanded that government agencies pitch in and do their part, particularly on Bergen Avenue between Avenues T and K, around the perimeter of the water treatment plant operated by the Department of Environmental Protection.
The area has been a trouble spot for years; overgrown by weeds, overrun by illegally parked commercial and recreational and derelict vehicles, and now overwhelmed by litter and trash, it is in a terrible state of neglect. There are car batteries, tires, wood boards, bottles and cans, cardboard boxes, TVs, piles of garbage bags, and even an errant beverage cooler, strewn anywhere and everywhere there is an open space. In fact, there are several parking spots occupied entirely by trash.
The first problem of course is that people are dumping their trash in this spot. It does not just appear out of thin air. The second is that government agencies are not making any attempt to deter or penalize those who litter and dump there. Residents believe that a NO DUMPING sign and a notice stating the fines associated with dumping might help. They say that providing more lighting and installing surveillance cameras could also help identify offenders. Then the agencies in question would have to make an effort to fine them.
Residents have long been unsuccessful in their attempts to find anyone who will take responsibility for maintaining this area. Although the Department of Sanitation can ticket homeowners and business owners who do not clean in front of their property, residents say they cannot issue violations to other City agencies like DEP. The absence of a sidewalk in some areas and improper signage pertaining to parking regulations, also prevent NYPD and Department of Traffic from issuing summonses, residents say.
Last week however, Bergen Beach Civic Association President Sal Calise advised residents that their voices had finally been heard. Calise explained, that with the cooperation of Community Board 18 (the offices of which are located on the very same site, at 1097 Bergen Avenue), have obtained a commitment from NYPD and DSNY to conduct joint operations to better maintain the area. The extent and timeline for the clean-up remain to be seen. Residents who have been let down before, remain skeptical, but fully expect the agencies to deliver on their promise and will be watching very closely to see what progress actually develops.