CLEANING SNAKE ROAD
They call it Snake Road. This winding, mile-long stretch of Brookville Boulevard in Queens has a single lane of traffic in either direction. Driving along this road, one is surrounded by the Idlewild Preserve, a vast wetland that serves as home to birds, fish and other animals. Yet, as anyone who travels there will tell you, Snake Road is also a repository for illegal dumping: construction debris, bottles, and commercial waste. Demonstrating Parks & Recreation’s continuing commitment to maintaining this important natural area, last Thursday it led another cleanup along the road.
You may recall last year, Queens Parks & Recreation Commissioner Richard Murphy, with the assistance of Vincenzo Oppedisano of Sano Construction, led a coordinated effort to lift two vehicles out of the wetland that had been there for two decades. There were no cars to be pulled out of Idlewild’s waters this year—in fact, the number of abandoned vehicles in parks has steadily declined since the 1990s –but Snake Road, with its winding shape, is a tempting place for an illegal dumper and there was still plenty of work to be done this year.
Working closely with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), Parks & Recreation’s Queens Office led a cleanup along the western portion of the Brookville Boulevard. Early Thursday morning, DOT traffic officers closed off traffic at both ends of the stretch while Parks & Recreation cleanup crews from Queens districts 13 and 14 used rakes to bring trash from the wetland areas onto the road for collection. Once the garbage—mainly construction debris—was raked out into the street, workers used brooms, shovels, and a front-end loader (a bulldozer, courtesy of DSNY) to bring the trash into a packer (a garbage truck). DSNY also brought in a sweeper, whose mechanical brooms picked up any extra waste. Finally, all of the garbage was loaded into two DSNY container trucks—both of which were completely filled by noon.
"We’re hopeful that with strengthened community efforts in this area and the formation of a new group dedicated to the Idlewild, we will be able to work with the community to resolve this dumping issue," said Queens Parks & Recreation Commissioner Richard Murphy. "Our new park neighbors are very appreciative of what’s going on."
Illegal dumping still remains a chronic problem in the City’s parks. Dumped garbage often includes household waste, vehicle parts, contractor debris, refrigerators, and commercial waste. Through the installation of fences, guard rails, and berms (earthen mounds), Parks has drastically reduced amount of garbage dumped on Parks properties each year. Next week, the eastern portion of the Snake Road will be cleaned. We all have the responsibility to help keep our city clean. If you witness illegal dumping please report it by dialing 311.
Written by Eric Adolfsen
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"That great dust heap called "history."