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Preserving quality of life

Mark Mroz
Rob Castor

The focus was on quality-of-life issues at Monday’s Take Back Your Neighborhood meeting.

Talking to the crowd were Capt. Marc Metellus, commander of the 2nd Police District; Mark Mroz, community relations officer in the 2nd; and Rob Castor, head supervisor for the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s newly formed neighborhood enforcement unit.

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The 2nd has a limited supply of free bright yellow steering wheel locks for owners of 2011-20 models of Kias and Hyundais, which are targets for car thieves. The 2nd is at 7306 Castor Ave.

Police are also aware of numerous food trucks on Castor Avenue and at the shopping center at 4640 Roosevelt Blvd. Mroz sent pictures of the trucks at the shopping center to the city Department of Licenses and Inspections and the Department of Health.

“We get a lot of complaints about the illegal food vendors,” he said.

Take Back Your Neighborhood is disappointed in City Council inaction on illegal car washes, which block sidewalks and steal water. Mroz said L&I is understaffed and the police often have higher priorities, but told members to continue to make 311 complaints.

“You are not allowed to set up a car wash on city of Philadelphia streets,” he said.

Mroz credited Castor and his crew for ticketing and towing illegally parked tractor trailers. Those trucks, officials say, should be parked on private lots.

Castor said ticketing and towing costs are high, so he hopes owners stop parking illegally.

“We’re doing the best we can. We have people out on the weekend. We’re pretty efficient,” he said. “The best way to get us is to go on PhilaPark.org.”

Castor encouraged residents to go to PhilaPark.org and click “Enforcement Requests & Parking Laws” to report illegally parked tractor trailers, abandoned vehicles and vehicles without a license plate. Requests for service can include a photo and go directly to his phone.

Vehicles with no license plate and a covered VIN will be towed.

“We call them ghost cars,” Castor said.

There were complaints about double parking on commercial corridors and specific locations of illegally parked tractor trailers, including on Bleigh Avenue, near Bustleton Avenue.

“They are getting $100 tickets,” Castor said.

Vehicles with three or more unpaid tickets are eligible for the boot.

For boats, RVs or vehicles with an expired inspection sticker, Castor said to make a 311 complaint.

In other news from the meeting:

• Everyone 13 and older is invited to a youth and family wellness talk on Thursday, Sept. 28, from 3-5 p.m. at Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Ave. The hosts will be youth facilitator Lamar Davis and family facilitator Vanessa Williams. Food and refreshments will be provided. For more information, visit PSOC.DBHIDS.org/Communities-of-Care.

• State Rep. Jared Solomon will host a Senior Fair on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Northeast Services Hub, 6434 Castor Ave. There will be information on state and local government-related programs and services such as Property Tax/Rent Rebate, SEPTA Senior ID and Unclaimed Property, along with private vendors, light refreshments and representatives from hospitals, insurance companies, local businesses and senior homes. Free parking will be available in the lot behind the building. To RSVP or for more information, call 215-342-6340.

• Rep. Jared Solomon will sponsor a veterans town hall and resource fair on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 4-7 p.m. at the Southampton Readiness Center, 2700 Southampton Road. There will be representatives from state, local and federal government agencies along with hospitals, insurance companies, businesses and public and private vendors. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP at 215-342-6340.

• State Sen. Tina Tartaglione will be holding three senior expos on upcoming Fridays, all from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The dates and sites are Oct. 6 at Bridesburg Recreation Center, 4601 Richmond St.; Oct. 13 at Mayfair Community Center, 2990 St. Vincent St.; and Oct. 20 at Juniata Boys and Girls Club, 1001 E. Cayuga St.

• Take Back Your Neighborhood will meet on Monday, Oct. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Max Myers Recreation Center, 1601 Hellerman St. ••

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