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Traffic on 88th Street near the Long Island Rail Road crossing in Glendale.

BY CHRISTOPHER MCDERMOTT

Though Glendale residents gathered hundreds of signatures in a petition to install speed bumps on 88th Street, Community Board (CB) 5’s Transportation Committee largely doubted that this is a legitimate solution to congestion and speeding on the roadway.

“I don’t think speed bumps are viable just because of [Department of Transportation] guidelines,” CB 5 board member Toby Sheppard Bloch said at a Nov. 28 committee meeting in Glendale. “I don’t think that stretch of road would support it. I’m a big traffic safety advocate but speed bumps are a tricky thing.”

New York City’s guidelines require speed bumps to be certain distances away from driveways, manholes, railroad crossings and intersections (all of which are present on 88th Street). During the discussion, several committee members doubted that there was a spot on the street that would meet the requirements and effectively slow speeding.

Bloch, himself a Glendale resident, said he’s seen the traffic come from parents picking up and dropping off kids at nearby P.S./I.S. 113 on 87th Street, and that he’s seen drivers cutting through the neighborhood to avoid congestion on Woodhaven Boulevard one street over.

Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association and a CB 5 board member, circulated the petition through change.org.

“As everyone is aware, 88th Street has become a speedway when it is not bumper-to-bumper traffic,” Masi wrote in the Oct. 16 petition. “Early morning before 8 and after 7 p.m., cars race from Cooper Avenue to Union Turnpike and reverse. Please join us in trying to get speed bumps and possibly save a life! Let’s not wait until there is a fatality.”

The site says the petition would be delivered to the city’s DOT and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, as well as CB 5’s Transportation Committee. The petition gathered over 400 signatures, although Bloch noted in a moment of levity that the listed addresses of some signees were not from Glendale, with some as far away Oregon and Texas.

“That’s something that happens with change.org,” he said.

The committee previously requested that the city perform a traffic study for 88th Street and another study for the area of eastern Glendale bounded by 88th Street, Myrtle Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard and Cooper Avenue, according to District Manager Gary Giordano.

However, Giordano noted that, at this particular time, the studies could be complicated by the ongoing introduction of Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard, which is a likely to skew data.

Giordano wouldn’t rule out speed bumps as a possible solution.

“In my opinion, it’s almost as if we’ve exhausted the other ways of slowing people down,” Giordano said.

Going forward, the committee decided that in future discussions with the D.O.T., they can use the petition as evidence that residents want improvements in traffic.

Bloch said the best lasting solution to the traffic problems would be to improve and encourage transportation other than cars.

“My daughter is in fourth grade [at P.S. 113], and she’s been driven to school twice in five years,” Bloch said. “It’s a decision — people making a choice, and even when it’s raining out, we make the choice to get an umbrella … I think what’s missing from the equation here is thinking about how our transportation choices impact our neighbors and making sure that we’re respectful of everybody’s needs.”

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