When Woodhaven residents find illegal postings — offerings to buy houses, junk cars or any other number of transactions — on public property, they have been told to call 311 to report them. At that point, DSNY is responsible for removing the signs and prosecuting those people who posted them.
However, a report from the WRBA shows that 311 has been woefully ineffective in addressing those issues.
Looking at 164 service requests that the WRBA filed with 311 reporting 142 different illegal postings, the report found that over 63 percent were not addressed properly; another 47 percent that the department claimed to have addressed were not removed; 7 percent of the posters were only partially removed, leaving large portions of the sign or sticker intact; and in this year alone, nearly 28 percent of 311 requests regarding the illegal signs seem to have never reached DSNY at all.
Alexander Blenkinsopp, director of communications for WRBA, said that the department has failed to fulfill their responsibilities.
"Illegal signs are an eyesore that disadvantage law-abiding businesses, distract drivers and pedestrians, signal that the rule of law is being ignored and are sometimes used by scammers," Blenkinsopp said. "Our study shows that when Sanitation says an illegal posting has been addressed, there's a better than 50 percent chance it's not true. That performance deserves a failing grade."
While pointing out the failings of the 311 system and DSNY, the report also offers a number of possible solutions, including allowing residents to get involved in the removal of signs.
"When it comes to illegal signs, the Sanitation Department should stop ignoring and blocking involvement by residents who have no agenda other than caring for our community and bringing about positive change,” said WRBA President Martin Colberg.