NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn man says he will stop at nothing to get parking for seniors and handicap drivers in front of a community center.
“Would you mind signing the petition?” Carl Fischer asks. Fischer, who’s almost 86, calls it his civic duty, doing anything possible to get his neighbors to sign a petition. He even uses his walker as a desk. Fischer is rallying support to go up against the city of New York.
“It makes me feel abused, because they don’t care about the seniors,” he said.
He’s trying to get a parking lot installed in front of the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park. He wants the Parks Department to rip up some grass to make room for 30 spots designated just for handicap and senior drivers.
“I really want to participate here in the senior activities, but I find it difficult because there is no parking, especially when the weather gets bad,” said Fischer, who lives in Sheepshead Bay.
The $14 million senior center was built in 2013. Carl says officials failed to dedicate any resources to accommodate handicap drivers. Others agree.
“I see they have a problem getting here,” said Marine Park resident Ed Gonzalez.
Locals say street parking in front of the center fills up quickly. One handicap driver even had to park in front of a pedestrian curb ramp. The closest parking lot is nearly 100 yards away, with only three handicap spots.
“These are senior citizens, they don’t have strength it make it from there to here,” said 80-year-old Paul Jackson.
“I’m lucky to be OK, but there are people that have trouble walking,” said Marine Park resident Sylvia Mazzarella.
The Parks Department says it constructed a fully accessible center, it allows drop offs at its back entrance for those who don’t drive. CBSN New York’s John Dias was told it’s usually locked. That means seniors, like 94-year-old Lilian Katz, have to walk around the building to enter.
“Not good. It needs help,” Katz said.
Fischer has made that help his mission. He’s hoping to get 200 signatures soon which he plans to take to local lawmakers.
The Parks Department says like all capital projects, the center was designed with community input. They say they do not have jurisdiction over street parking or amending those rules.