Want DOT To Scrap Glendale, Maspeth Plans
Proposed one-way conversions for a pair of streets in Glendale and Maspeth were turned down by Community Board 5′s Transportation and Public Transit Committees, who recommended at their meeting last Tuesday, July 17, that the Department of Transportation (DOT) use other means to address traffic problems on both roadways.
Six days after a spirited public hearing at Board 5’s July 11 meeting over changing the direction of a oneway block of DoranAvenue between 89th Street and Woodhaven Boulevard from westbound to eastbound, the panels recommended that the DOT scrap the proposal.
As previously reported, the DOT proposed the one-way switch for Doran Avenue based on a traffic study conducted by the agency at the request of local residents and community officials. Residents of Doran Avenue at the July 11 hearing spoke in favor of the change, which they claimed would increase safety by stopping speeding traffic. Other Glendale residents, however, opposed the proposal, fearing that it would lead to an increase in traffic on surrounding blocks.
Vincent Arcuri, Board 5 chairperson, observed that the DOT’s “sug- gestion of the one-way” eastbound on Doran Avenue toward Woodhaven Boulevard “is suicide.”
“Anyone going westbound that comes through Woodhaven Boulevard [and] doesn’t know the community is going to go into a head-on situation,” he said. “We can’t, in good conscience, approve that.”
Two members of the committees, Michael O’Kane and Dorie Figliola, reported that they observed traffic on Doran Avenue for periods of time following the July 11 meeting.
“The cars come in clusters, and the clusters happen when traffic is backed up on Woodhaven Boulevard,” O’Kane said. “They come in clusters, five or six at a time, separated by minutes.”
He concurred with Arcuri about the concern for head-on collisions by drivers who may turn westbound on Doran Avenue from Woodhaven Boulevard without realizing the new one-way restriction.
Figliola added that, in observing Doran Avenue traffic on the afternoon of July 13, she did not see many speeding vehicles: “I don’t see anything worse than what’s on every other block around this city,” adding that speeding on local streets is a common complaint raised by residents around the city.
Residents of Doran Avenue in attendance contended that their block is plagued by speeding cars, trucks and buses during all hours of the day.
“The big problem is usually between early morning and three or four o’clock in the afternoon,” said one resident. “Most of the trucks going to the [Atlas Terminals].” Another added that cars have also been spotted speeding on Doran Avenue after exiting the Chase bank parking lot at the corner of Doran Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard.
As an alternate, the committees suggested that the DOT install an allway stop sign at the corner of Doran Avenue and 89th Street. Arcuri noted that the request for the stop sign had been made previously, but rejected by the DOT since the agency found that the location did not meet federal guidelines for the device.
“If you study the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the city’s traffic calming program, you can use any one of those devices to calm traffic,” Arcuri added. He noted, however, that the city would need to pay to install any traffic control device at locations which do not meet federal traffic safety guidelines- and, thus, ineligible for federal funding.
“We have the electeds on board, we have the community as a whole on board” for the stop sign, added Richard Huber, a member of the committees. “I think we have to pressure the DOT … to do a reasonable solution.”
Another Glendale resident in attendance agreed: “We’re trying to come up with the easiest, most practical solution. It sounds like a stop sign is the answer.” One woman in attendance, however, doubted that drivers would obey the sign installed.
“Forget it, it’s not going to happen,” she said. “People are going to just blow through it.”
In addition to requesting the allway stop sign at Doran Avenue and 89th Street, Arcuri said that the board would also request that the DOT put in place other traffic calming measures, such as speed limit advisories.
The committees also rejected the DOT’s plan to convert the full length of Mazeau Street between Grand Avenue and the westbound Queens Midtown Expressway in Maspeth from a two-way street to a one-way road for southbound traffic. The street is currently one-way southbound for one block between 57th Drive and the Queens Midtown Expressway.
At the committees’ June 19 meeting in Maspeth, residents of the street had complained that their residential roadway had been the site of numerous accidents caused by speeding drivers. While they claimed that the change would help save lives and property, others in the area argued that the oneway switch would inconvenience them, as they would need to drive several blocks out of their way to reach Grand Avenue and other local streets.
One resident also claimed that some teachers from nearby schools have been making the illegal turn from Queens Midtown Expressway onto Mazeau Street “every day” as a shortcut.
Instead of the one-way change, Arcuri suggested that the DOT install “neckdowns” (wider curbs) at the corner of Mazeau Street and Queens Midtown Expressway to prevent illegal turns by drivers turning from the expressway westbound onto Mazeau Street. The committees also requested “daylight” (no standing) regulations at a bend in Mazeau Street just south of 57th Avenue to make it easier for two-way traffic to pass safely.
District Manager Gary Giordano informed the committees that the DOT’s Bureau of Highways will soon begin nighttime resurfacing along two major thoroughfares in Board 5’s confines: Myrtle Avenue between Fresh Pond Road and Palmetto Street in Ridgewood; and Woodhaven Boulevard between Union Turnpike and Myrtle Avenue in Glendale.
The DOT also provided the board with a tentative list of other roadways which are scheduled to be resurfaced on or about October of this year, generally during daytime hours. They include the following:
– Bleecker Street between Seneca and Cypress avenues in Ridgewood (a speed bump will also be installed at this location);
– Grove Street between Seneca and St. Nicholas avenues in Ridgewood;
– Himrod Street between Grandview and Metropolitan avenues in Ridgewood;
– Madison Street between Forest and Cypress avenues and between Myrtle and Cypress avenues, both in Ridgewood;
– Otto Road between 64th Street and 69th Place in Glendale;
– Putnam Avenue between Forest and Cypress avenues in Ridgewood;
– 67th Drive between 73rd Place and 80th Street in Middle Village (a speed bump will also be installed close to P.S./I.S. 87, located near the corner of 67th Drive and 80th Street);
– 70th Avenue between Otto Road and 70th Street in Glendale; and
– 73rd Place between Metropolitan and 70th avenues in Middle Village.
Parking and traffic will be restricted on each roadway while resurfacing work takes place. Notices will be posted by the DOT on the affected blocks prior to street milling and paving; any vehicle found parked on the street during the work hours can and will be towed away at the owner’s expense.
One of the streets on the tentative resurfacing list, 73rd Place in Middle Village, is included in a long-delayed, large-scale reconstruction project for streets in the southern area of the neighborhood. Arcuri noted that the board has been advocating for the city to start the proposed work, which includes the reconstruction of roadbeds and sewer lines in an area bounded by Metropolitan and Cooper avenues between 73rd Place and 80th Street, for 20 years.
“No one else is advocating for this except for the community board. We need people to demand that we get these services,” Arcuri said. “If you look at what we’re paying in taxes, we pay a lot to live here. We should be getting services.”
As previously reported, the DOT has begun the design phase of the reconstruction project, but there is no firm timetable on if and when the work will begin.
Arcuri stated that the panels are still waiting for the MTA to provide updated plans for the “station renewal” project at the Fresh Pond Road, Forest Avenue and Seneca Avenue stops on the M line in Ridgewood. The MTA has, however, informed the board that the project would begin in earnest in September and result in weekend service disruptions.
The city has once again pushed back the start of the reconstruction of Wyckoff Avenue on the Brooklyn/ Queens border in Ridgewood and the Grand Street Bridge over the Newtown Creek. Giordano indicated that the projects have been delayed to, at the earliest, the city’s 2020 fiscal year.
The community board is also inquiring with the city about the stalled installation of decorative replica street lights along Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood and Glendale and Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood. Arcuri noted that some of the projects have not been done at all or are incomplete.
At the request of a local resident, the panels agreed to ask the DOT to study whether to install a traffic signal at the corner of 68th Street and Central Avenue in Glendale.
The next meeting of Community Board 5’s Transportation and Public Transit committees is scheduled to take place on Tuesday night, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. at Board 5’s Glendale office, located at 61-23 Myrtle Ave. For more information, call 1-718-366-1834.