Dyker Heights residents angered by Christmas lights tourist buses blocking streets

DYKER HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — The Christmas lights in Dyker Heights have become so popular that people come from all over the country to walk the neighborhood streets on cold December nights.

But with tour buses full of tourists filling the neighborhood, local streets have become a tighter squeeze than Santa down a chimney.

"We had buses that we're unable to traverse the streets. Getting stuck behind double-parked cars, backing up, unable to make turns, creating gridlock," said District Manager Josephine Beckmann.

So to help relieve some of the congestion Beckmann and Community Board 10 worked with the Dyker Heights Association and the 68th Precinct on new parking plans.

Until January 3rd, parking on nearby 86th street is restricted to tourbuses only between 3p.m. and midnight.

But some locals are calling it a real grinch move.

"Where are we going to park our cars?" asked Juan Salazar who has lived in the neighborhood for a decade.

But Beckmann says the community organizations chose the location because the designated spots are next to a park and not homes.

Also 86th street is a main bus route, so it's wider than the side streets and can deal with the extra traffic.

"Tourists come and they travel and they eat and they sample. And they take a look at our community and take a taste of our food. So we want to encourage that, but again safety first," said Beckmann.

This is the second year the parking restrictions are in place. Beckmann says they helped ease traffic last year and is confident they will work again. But Salazar is worried the new rules could steal the Christmas cheer from his wallet.

"I think it's going to be a mess," he said. I think it's going to cost us money with tickets.