Amsterdam bans parking on stretch of Northern Boulevard, feeding crows



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AMSTERDAM — A pair of ordinances to manage parking issues around a booming business and deter congregating crows in Amsterdam were approved by the Common Council on Tuesday.

Parking or stopping at any time will be prohibited on Northern Boulevard around the intersection with Clizbe Avenue on the northern side of the street bordering Goodfellas Pizza under the first approved ordinance.

The measure is intended to prevent parked cars from lining both sides of the narrow street now that winter alternate side parking rules have expired, which would make it impassable by emergency vehicles, according to Police Chief John Thomas.

Parked cars from the massive weekend crowds at liquidation store What-A-Bargain at 1 Northern Boulevard routinely spill out from the on-site parking lot onto surrounding streets and park without permission in the private lots of surrounding businesses.

Kristi Vertucci, owner of KLV Properties at 178-190 Clizbe Ave., described the ordinance as a start to addressing increasingly dangerous traffic issues in the area, while saying the city must do more to protect the community.

“The traffic is absolutely insane,” Kristi Vertucci said during a scheduled public hearing. “It is the safety of our citizens of Amsterdam that I have a concern with and that I’m scared for.”

Unauthorized parking by customers from the business across the street often impedes clients trying to access the 16 commercial tenants in her recently renovated building, including visitors to the physical therapy office, Kristi Vertucci added.

What-A-Bargain owner Brent Yager recently posted part-time positions to direct traffic at the business to try to rein in issues. He previously said parking reminders over social media and instructions delivered by megaphone to customers in line had been ineffective.

Beyond the ordinance, Mayor Michael Cinquanti said the city is working on an agreement to lease 61 Lyon St. from the Shuttleworth Park Foundation for $1 per year to create a public parking lot to ease parking woes from rapidly growing businesses in the neighborhood. Paving plans and safe pedestrian traffic patterns from the site still need to be figured out.

“That would greatly help the area now,” said Terry Vertucci, urging the city to finalize the deal and prepare the site for use rapidly. “It would get a lot of cars off the street.”

The city further plans to address safety concerns in the area from traffic traveling uphill on Lyon Street at Clizbe Avenue by clearing vegetation and removing an unneeded retaining wall in the coming weeks to relieve longstanding visibility issues pointed out by residents and 1st Ward Alderwoman Kelly Quist-Demars.

“The parking situation is a start,” Cinquanti said. “We’re putting all the pieces together.”


The other ordinance approved by the council on Tuesday adds a ban on feeding crows to an existing section of city code prohibiting the feeding of pigeons. Penalties already on the books will subject violators to fines of up to $250 or up to 15 days in jail or both.

The measure authorizes the city to take enforcement action against individuals feeding crows in public places and streets. It was introduced after officials learned last month of a resident routinely spreading food for crows on a city-owned property on Academy Street.

City resident John R. “Chet” Watroba questioned the enforceability of the measure and the value of sending officials to deal with alleged violators during a scheduled public hearing. He went on to suggest crows would remain in the area regardless.

“This is kind of ridiculous,” Watroba said. “This isn’t going to solve anything.”

However, resident Philip Pinto argued the ordinance is needed to ensure the city can control disturbances the likes of which he has experienced from his neighbor throwing bird seed and food scraps outside twice a day for dozens of crows on Academy Street.

“This isn’t a trivial thing,” Pinto said. “I get woken up by it everyday.”

Officials have already informed the resident continuing to feed the crows on city property would constitute trespassing and littering, according to Cinquanti. But the ordinance provides another mechanism to address the problem and any future issues from individuals feeding crows in the city where the birds have proliferated in recent years.

“This isn’t a case of somebody putting bird feed in a bird feeder. This is someone attracting a swarm of crows by throwing a lot of food on the ground,” Cinquanti said. “If anybody does this throughout the city and we hear of it, we are now going to be able to go and stop it. That’s what we want to be able to do.”

Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

By Ashley Onyon

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