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Another Look at the Avenue

DOT Reconsiders Board 5 Ideas For Glendale St.

With the Cooper Avenue underpass project drawing to a close, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is again considering a number of recommendations previously raised by Community Board 5 members regarding proposed traffic pattern changes in the area, it was learned during a meeting Board 5′s Transportation and Public Transit Committees last Tuesday, May 21.

Fern Weinreich of the city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced during the session at the board’s Glendale office that DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Delilah Hall has agreed to revisit several issues raised during a meeting between Board 5 members and DOT and DDC officials earlier this month.

The meeting was arranged after several committee members expressed concerns about a number of proposed traffic pattern changes following the completion of the Cooper Avenue underpass project. One such change is the conversion of 74th Street between 78th and Cooper avenues from a one-way street southbound to a one-way northbound.

Board members claimed that the change in direction would increase traffic on 73rd Place and also eliminate an outlet for traffic should the underpass be forced to close for any reason. Weinreich stated Hall would re-examine the issue based on the board’s concerns, but noted that should couldn’t promise if the idea would be scrapped altogether.

The DOT is also examining requests by Board 5 members to install traffic signals at the corner of 79th Place and Cooper Avenue as well as a left turn signal at the intersection of Cooper Avenue and 80th Street. Weinreich added the agency is considering relocating the Q29 bus stop located on 80th Street southbound at Cooper Avenue.

As for the underpass itself, Transportation Committee Co-Chair John Schell reported the walls have been completed, and crews have finished the installation of an 11′-wide sidewalk along the westbound side of Cooper Avenue. Weinreich added that crews were set to begin installing a sidewalk of a similar width on the opposite side of the street.

The sidewalks are being made wide since they will double as bike lanes. This caused confusion and concern among board members who pointed out that it is against the law for adult bicyclists to ride on pedestrian paths.

It was noted, however, that there will be signage to indicate that the underpass’ sidewalks may be used by bicyclists.

Once the sidewalk is completed, the roadway itself will be resurfaced. All work is expected to be finished by the end of next month, Weinreich stated.

As for the abutments directly below the trestle carrying the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk branch over Cooper Avenue-which was left untouched during the project since the abutments are MTA property- Weinreich added the city DOT has reached out to MTA on possible improvement ideas.

Other news

The MTA’s “station renewal” projects at the Fresh Pond Road, Forest Avenue and Seneca Avenue stations on the M line in Ridgewood is moving forward but slowly, Schell stated in relaying a report from Public Transit Committee Co-Chair John Maier, who was not in attendance.

The final design plans are being developed for the Public Plaza Project at the Glendale Memorial Triangle, according to Ted Renz, co-chair of the Public Transit Committee. The project-which includes expanding the triangle to include the short block of 70th Street between Myrtle and Cooper avenue-is on track to begin in the spring of 2014.

A rough draft of the proposed creation of a permanent public plaza at the corner of Myrtle Avenue, 71st Avenue and Stephen Street in Ridgewood is anticipated to be presented at the June meeting of the Board 5 committees, Renz said. He hoped enough information will be presented to allow the committee to present a resolution on the project to be voted on by the entire board in July.

Schell reported that Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri, who was not in attendance, recently sent a letter to City Council Member Diana Reyna regarding proposed traffic safety improvements at the corner of Myrtle Avenue, Wyckoff Avenue and Palmetto Street on the Brooklyn/Queens border. The letter included recommendations previously made by the board as part of the Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal project calling for a host of enhancements at the intersection to make it safer for pedestrians and drivers to pass through.

The DOT’s Hilary Gietz, in a letter received by the board earlier this month, indicated that the agency is investigating conditions at the intersection and is working with the NYPD and MTA on a safety plan, Schell added. Those ideas, when completed, would be presented to Board 5 for its consideration, he noted.

The committees expressed approval of a request made by Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan to the DOT for the installation of a left-turn signal at the corner of Grand Avenue and 69th Street in Maspeth. If installed, the signal will be used to control turns from Grand Avenue eastbound onto 69th Street northbound.

Committee member Manny Caruana reported that trucks are once again being parked during overnight and early morning hours in a safety zone on the Queens Midtown Expressway near the 69th Street-Grand Avenue exit off the Long Island Expressway in Maspeth. The problem was previously squashed through enforcement efforts by the NYPD, but has resurfaced in recent weeks.

Schell stated the board would reach out to the 104th Precinct requesting additional truck enforcement in the area.

Jean Tanler of the Maspeth Industrial Business Association noted the group is conducting a survey of local business regarding public transportation options in the area, which she described as “limited.” The result of the survey will be used as part of the organization’s efforts to have the MTA increase bus service for workers heading to and from the industrial section of the neighborhood.

Committee members agreed that the board send letters of no objection to the Taxi and Limousine Commission for two livery cab companies in Ridgewood seeking base station license renewals: Priscilla Car Service, located at 917 Wyckoff Ave.; and Fenix Car Service, located at 586 Seneca Ave.

The next meeting of Community Board 5’s Transportation and Public Transit Committees is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Board 5 office, located at 61-23 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. For more information, call 1-718-366-1834.

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