By Rich Bockmann
Shore Road with its scenic vistas of Little Neck Bay gets a little too close for comfort to the picturesque surroundings at times, but not for long.
“It’s falling into the bay in a nutshell,” said George Schmidt, chairman of Douglaston Manor Association’s Shore Road Reconstruction Committee. “If you go to the point and start heading south, there are two areas where the roadway is literally collapsing into the bay.”
The city Department of Design and Construction plans to fix the roadway sometime toward the end of next summer.
DDC spokesman Craig Chin said stormwater runoff problems have eroded the soil under two 100-foot stretches of roadway, one near Bay View Avenue and another near Manor Road.
The remedy, he said, will involve rebuilding the roadway and installing a drainage system. Once the two sections are repaired, the entire road will be milled and repaved.
The DDC hopes to finalize its plans for the project in the spring and make a final presentation to the Douglas Manor Association.
“We expect construction to be about nine months,” said Chin, who estimated the cost to be approximately $5 million.
Schmidt said the road has been in an escalating state of disrepair for about six or seven years and the fix should take into consideration the unique character of the meandering one-way street.
“It’s a quixotic road. At some points it’s narrow; at some points wider, and we like that. Visually it’s far more interesting than a straight-line road,” he said. “People tend to use it as a promenade. There are 20-something homes on Shore Road, only a few of which have garages. People tend to use it just to drive and enjoy.”
The reconstruction committee, two members of which are structural engineers, is also requesting that the city Department of Transportation lower the speed limit to 15 miles per hour and to replace the steel guard rails with wooden ones.
“Many years ago, back in the ’60s, they installed these horrible corrugated steel barriers. Now they’ve deteriorated and they’re rusted over. They’re really an eyesore in this beautiful neighborhood,” Schmidt said. “Wood might suffice in terms of impact resistance, and would be far more appropriate given the historic nature of the community.”
The committee chairman said he was still holding meetings with various agencies to discuss the association’s requests.
“The problem for them is that this is outside of their usual process,” he said. “Then again, we feel the whole road is outside the usual process.”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4574.