Manhattan Beach residents are fed up with Kingsborough Community College students speeding through their community and parking illegally, and they want school administrators to do something about it.
“Most of the speeding is attributable to students,” Judy Baron, chair of the Manhattan Beach Community Group’s [MBCG] Traffic Committee said. “I understand why they do it - they’re in a rush to get to class.”
Both the MBCG and the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association [MBNA] say that traffic conditions -always a problem in the community -have gotten worse of late.
“Speeding is out of control,” MBNA spokesperson Edmond Dweck said. “There are a lot of people in Manhattan Beach lately. I don’t see residents speeding, mostly it’s the Kingsborough crowd.”
Enrollment at the two-year community College located at 2001 Oriental Boulevard is at an all-time high with as many as 16,000 students attending class there.
Kingsborough spokesperson Dr. Saul Katz says that the student body is regularly told about the importance of driving safely and being good neighbors when visiting Manhattan Beach.
“We consider outside the gate our extended family,” Katz said.
Cops from the 61st Police Precinct have responded to complaints from community residents, issuing some 34 speeding summonses in the last month.
Last Thursday alone a new detail on Oriental Boulevard nailed six speeders, authorities say.
“They [cops] have helped us get more attention, but they’re strapped and don’t have the amount of officers they need,” said Dweck.
Katz says the college supports 100 percent police enforcement.
In May of 2008, a Kingsborough student named Youzdjan Bekir was killed in a motorcycle accident while traveling on Oriental Boulevard.
Critics say that speeding isn’t only confined to Oriental Boulevard - Norfolk and Oxford streets are dangerous as well.
On Shore Boulevard, Dweck says cars are lined up “two by two like a racetrack.”
Despite on campus parking and a sizeable parking lot, too many college student are parking on Manhattan Beach streets - often illegally, critics also charge.
“We’re trying to come up with a plan for Kingsborough students to park on campus,” MBCG President Ira Zalcman says. “We need to get them off the streets as much as possible.”
An 18-week Kingsborough parking pass costs students $55.
“We have some thoughts about how the fees can be restructured,” Baron suggested. “We don’t want to be at war with the college.”
Katz argues the fee is already “subsidized” and “very cost effective” for students.
Both the MBCG and MBNA are anticipating upcoming talks with Kingsborough administrators in an effort to alleviate traffic problems in the community.
“I think it has to start with Kingsborough focusing the attention on these guys [speeders],” Dweck says. “Maybe have it affect their grades.”
“We have to be creative in finding solutions to this,” Zalcman stressed. “People’s lives are in danger.”