Kimbark Plaza ignores residents

To the Editor:

Livability refers to the ability of business area residents to amicably co-exist with the surrounding business community. Over the past year, community residents, representing 30-plus home-owning families and members of the 53rd and Kimbark Merchants’ Association have met to resolve community concerns related to truck deliveries of goods and services to plaza merchants. During these discussions, specific community concerns were identified and ideas generated to address these concerns. However, due to a lack of leadership or indifference on the parts of owners and management, these issues or concerns remain unattended and livability is at a low unacceptable level.  These issues and related agreed-upon fixes follow:

1. Damage to Property
 a. Sidewalks and streets – Oversized and overweight trucks (16 to 18 wheelers) go over curbs onto sidewalks, in order to turn around in cul-de-sac delivery area, causing damage. This expense is shared by home-owners with city. Also, these large trucks cause continuous street pot holes.
b. Perimeter brick wall surrounding the Kimbark Avenue townhouse development has been knocked down by delivery trucks four times in recent years and the responsible trucker conveniently leaves the scene. Use of our liability insurance for repairs caused a considerable spike in premiums.
 c.  Solution — Management should request that deliveries be made in smaller trucks and the installation of security cameras and planter barriers in the delivery area could record and deter offending vehicles.

2. Congestion and Noise Nuisances
 a. Blockage in cul-de-sac by converging trucks preventing ingress and egress to alleys for emergency and resident vehicles. Alleys lead to off-street parking and homes. Delivery trucks travel in the wrong direction on one-way streets, backing out, and speeding.
 b. Plaza employees are not allowed to park in plaza parking lot, consequently, parking on Kimbark Avenue (no meters) used by employees, limiting resident use.
 c. Noisy grease pick-up trucks serving Leona’s on a regular basis at an early hour, and Leona’s home delivery personnel loiter and socialize in a disruptive manner in alley.
 d. Daily sidewalk cleaning at 5:30 a.m. and regular monthly power washing of sidewalks before 7 a.m. A request was sent recently to company calling for a later start time.
 e. Solutions — Implement management proposed specific truck route, with adequate signage. A rotating truck delivery schedule should reduce congestion. Management should send memo discouraging horn blowing, idling motors and continuous truck refrigerator motors running. In addition, no Sunday deliveries and all trash pick-ups start after 7 a.m. Use CPD and plaza security to monitor and enforce plans.

The issues set out above have been entertained over the past several years and were re-visited during the past year. The conversation between plaza management/owners and community residents regarding community concerns goes back to the 1970s. Some changes have occurred, e.g., three additional restaurants, a bank, CVS and a kiddie hair salon have expanded the negative impact on resident livability. We, the area residents, are calling for concerted action to relieve stressed residents of standing issues. An effective plan of action by owners/management that is fully implemented, clearly communicated to all parties and vigorously enforced. Your considerable community influence and leadership are needed to persuade owners/management to act and attend to the outlined issues. It is our goal to establish a healthy balance between a viable business community and a supportive comfortable residential community. Representatives of plaza management and owners are listed below:

Kimbark Plaza Merchants’ Association                               
Charles Newsome, president   1208 E 53rd St.
773-858-8671             

Aegis Properties Corp.
William Southall, managing agent
1525 E. 53rd St.
773-667-8900

Will White