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Auto body shops take up street parking in the Bronx

MT. EDEN, the Bronx — Residents of one Bronx neighborhood say police aren't doing anything about businesses using up all of the street parking.

Mt. Eden resident Eric Klein says local businesses use the street parking on Macombs Road as a car lot and the public spaces on Cromwell Avenue to park and fix cars.  Klein has been complaining about the parked vehicles that have no license plates for six years.

“You see at night people driving around for hours looking for parking spots, people getting into fights for parking spots” Klein said.

Some of the cars have a phone number scrawled on the side window.  Klein says it belongs to the flat fix shop on Macombs Rd.

“They bring cars in from Pennsylvania, they do work on them, then they put them out on the street for sale," he said.

He says the cars sometimes remain there for days at a time.  The manager of the shop denied the cars belonged to the business and ordered us to leave, with a wooden club in his hand.

A block away, motorists have trouble squeezing through the double parked cars on Cromwell Avenue. Many belong to customers of the auto body shops on the block. The shops take the license plates off to avoid getting parking tickets.

We also saw a truck without license plates on Macombs Rd. that Klein says has been parked  on the street for two years.

“I’ve pointed it out to traffic agents," he said. “They walk right past it. They won’t ticket a vehicle that doesn’t have a plate. I’ve asked why? They say they’re not supposed to.” \

But an NYPD spokeswoman tells PIX11 “The NYPD can issue summonses.”

The vehicles missing one or more plates cars can also be towed . She says the commanding officer of the 44th Police Precinct, just a few blocks away, is aware of the condition and is addressing it.

Klein says many of the neighborhood residents are recent arrivals from the Dominican Republic and some African countries and are afraid to complain. So he has become the voice of the neighborhood.  He has spoken with City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who represents the area,  and with the leaders of Community Board 4, but says he gets little response. He frequently calls 311 to report the locations of cars without plates.

“Every once a while the city will come through and ticket a bunch of cars, but it’s very rare.”

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